(Associated Press) The suspect in a string of fires that destroyed three black churches in rural Louisiana is the white son of a sheriff's deputy whose father helped arrange for his arrest, authorities said Thursday.
Holden Matthews, 21, was jailed without bail on arson charges in connection with the blazes in and around Opelousas, a city of 16,000 where the flame-gutted remains of the buildings evoked memories of civil rights era violence.
Louisiana Fire Marshal Butch Browning offered no motive for the fires. He and other officials stopped short of calling them hate crimes. Eric Rommal, the agent in charge of the New Orleans FBI office, said investigators were still looking into whether the fires were "bias motivated."
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