LAFAYETTE, La. — A 21-year-old Louisiana man has been arrested in the fiery destruction of three African-American churches that occurred within a 10-day span. Police are looking into the man’s interest in “black metal” as a possible influence as it pertains to its history of torching churches.
Holden Matthews, the son of a sheriff’s deputy, was taken into custody by police on Wednesday evening. Reports state that his father did not know about his son’s involvement in the crime, was deeply grieved by it, and helped to facilitate his arrest after learning that Matthews was the suspect.
Matthews has now been charged with three counts of simple arson of a religious building, with each count carrying a maximum sentence of 15 years behind bars.
“I don’t know what this young man’s motive was. I don’t know what was in his heart,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said during a press conference on Thursday. “But I can say it cannot be justified or rationalized. Let me be clear: these were evil acts.”
Police are looking into Matthews’ interest in “black metal” as a possible influence behind his actions. Matthews is the lead singer of the band Vodka Vultures, and The Daily Beast reports that he was “active in pagan and black metal pages.” He also commenter under two memes pertaining to Varg Vikernes, the former bassist for the Norwegian black metal band Mayhem.
“Vikernes boasted about burning churches in Norway with other black metal musicians called the ‘black
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