Two Birmingham-Southern College students have been arrested in connection with last month’s church fires. This disturbs me greatly, as Birmingham-Southern is the alma mater of my stepdaughter and many of my dearest friends (and it’s affiliated with the United Methodist Church, in case you were wondering about the post title). What were these idiots thinking? If they are indeed guilty, I hope they get significant prison time, but I’d also like to see them sent out on work release to help rebuild the buildings, and the faith communities, that they tried to destroy.
The Feds are still looking for a third suspect. They plan to hold a news conference at 2:00 pm CST today.
UPDATE: The third suspect has been arrested.
Benjamin Nathan Moseley and Russell Lee Debusk Jr., both 19-year-old students at Birmingham-Southern College, appeared in federal court and were ordered held on church arson charges pending a hearing Friday. Matthew Lee Cloyd, 20-year-old junior at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, was also arrested….
…Moseley confessed to the arsons after his arrest, investigators said in court papers.
The papers said Moseley told agents that he, Cloyd and Debusk went to Bibb County in Cloyd’s sport utility vehicle on Feb. 2 and set fire to five churches. A witness quoted Cloyd as saying Moseley did it “as a joke and it got out of hand.”
Moseley also told agents the four fires in west Alabama were set “as a diversion to throw investigators off,” an attempt that “obviously did not work,” the court papers said.
A joke that got out of hand? Sorry, guys, but setting fire to five churches is not funny, and torching four more in an attempt to cover your tracks pretty much puts the nail in the coffin to the “harmless prank” defense.
Here’s a link to the criminal complaint.