Church-Burning Black Metal Musician Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison
Holden Matthews, a 23-year old black metal musician from Louisiana, has received a 25-year prison sentence in relation to his guilty plea of setting three Baptist churches on fire in March and April of last year. Additionally, the court ordered he pay over $2.6 million in restitution for the damages to the trio of religious buildings.
In a 10-day span between March 26 and April 4 of last year, Matthews, the son of a sheriff's deputy, set fire to the St. Mary Baptist, Greater Union Baptist and Mount Pleasant Baptist churches and each building was razed to the ground. He claimed to be inspired by the infamous '90s church burnings by black metal musicians in Norway and committed the acts of arson as an attempt to bolster his profile as a black metal musician. He even posted videos and photos of the crimes on Facebook.
On Feb. 10, Matthews pleaded guilty to to the three acts of arson, which violated the Church Arson Prevention Act, 18 U.S.C. § 247(a)(1) and faced between 10 and 70 years in prison. On Nov. 2, as reported by Baton Rouge's The Advocate, the Western District of Louisiana sentenced him to 300 months (25 years in prison) and ordered he pay restitution — $590,246 to St. Mary Baptist Church, $970,213.30 to Greater Union, and $1,100,000 to Mt. Pleasant.
At the court hearing, Matthews said, "There are not enough words in the English language to say how sorry I am. If I could go back and change it I would...I not only have hurt my real family and friends but I have hurt my brothers and sisters in Christ."
View the ABC news report (from April of 2019) on Matthews' criminal act below.
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