A Louisiana man pleaded guilty to torching three predominately black churches in 2019 and then bragging about the arsons online to promote his “Black Metal” image, authorities said.
Holden Matthews, 22, pleaded guilty to three counts of violating the Church Arson Prevention Act for the church-burning spree in the Opelousas area, according to the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.
Matthews was inspired to torch the churches by another Black Metal artist who committed similar crimes in Norway in the 1990s, prosecutors alleged.
He admitted to recording the arsons and then posting the videos to Facebook to brag about the crimes and raise his profile in the Black Metal community, the ATF said.
“His atrocious actions inflicted severe pain and grief upon these congregations, as well as all of St. Landry Parish,” FBI Special Agent Bryan Vorndran said in a statement.
Matthews faces up to 70 years in prison for the crimes.