Church Burning, Black Metal-Loving Son of A Cop Now Facing Hate Crime Charges; Denied Bail

In the media coverage of the three Louisana church fires that happened last week, it’s been a bit jarring to see black metal at the forefront of the headlines, and no mention of the fact that the guy is the son of a St. Landry Parish sheriff’s deputy. For the record, I was sort of guilty of this same oversight. So I wanted to be clear on who this person is.

21-year-old Holden Matthews was arrested last Wednesday for burning three primarily black churches in rural St. Landry Parish.  The Daily Beast notes the fires occurred at St. Mary Baptist Church, Greater Union Baptist Church, and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church on March 26, April 2, and April 4, respectively. Another “intentionally set” fire was also reported on April 7 at the predominantly white Vivian United Pentecostal Church a few hours away.

Mathews, who posted of pagan beliefs and was a fan of Burzum frontman Varg Vikernes, has been denied bail according to ABC News. Here is what went down at the hearing:

The Associated Press reports Matthews did not speak during the hearing, which came after prosecutors filed papers to add three charges accusing Matthews of violating the state’s hate crime law. Those three charges come in addition to three charges of arson of a religious building that Matthews already faced.

Matthews was denied bond on Monday, which law enforcement officials pushed for because they view him as a continued threat.

“We felt that he was an immediate risk to public safety,” said Louisiana Fire Marshal Butch Browning, according to the AP.

“In my mind, I felt another fire was imminent,” Browning said in court Monday.

The story notes that they have yet to find a motive for his crimes. Browning officials again cited black metal saying Matthews has ties to “black metal and its association and history with church burnings in other parts of the world.” From what we’ve seen, he basically has a photo in front of graffiti that says “black metal” and he commented on some Varg memes.

Matthews’ father, the sherrif’s deputy, was seen watching the hearing from a video conference room in the courthouse. At one point, he left the room in tears.

Thankfully, nobody was hurt as a result of the fires.

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