After two terrifying weeks, a criminal that has been terrorizing southern Louisiana has been apprehended. But the identity of that individual has the town talking.
21-year-old Holden Matthews has been arrested and charged with three counts of simple arson on a religious building after three churches were set ablaze. Don’t let the “simple” part fool you, each count carries a prison sentence of 15 years.
“We are extremely, unequivocally confident that we have the person who is responsible for these tragic crimes on these three churches,” Louisiana Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning stated during a news briefing in Opelousas, Louisiana.
That confidence is causing quite a controversy given that Matthews happens to be the son of Deputy Roy Matthews, who serves with the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Officials moved fast and apprehend Matthews within 12 hours of him being listed as a suspect under fear that another arson was “imminent”.
“We felt that other crimes were imminent,” he said. “In an abundance of public safety, we quickly secured warrants and took him into custody.”
Louisiana has an unfortunate history of black churches being burned down which Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards pointed out as making the case “especially painful because it reminds us of a very dark past of intimidation and fear.”
Officials with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms have stated that the investigation is ongoing.