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IN BRIEF / INDIANA

Man Indicted in 29 Church Fires

July 28, 1999|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

A man accused of setting fires at 12 churches in Indiana and Georgia was indicted by a federal grand jury in Indianapolis on charges that he set 17 other church fires across the country. The indictment accuses Jay Scott Ballinger, 36, of burning a total of 29 churches in California, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee since 1994. Ballinger has been in federal custody since February when he was arrested in connection with an Ohio church fire that police said left him severely burned. He told federal agents he burned 30 to 50 churches in 11 states between 1994 and 1998. The latest indictment adds charges of conspiracy to commit arson and church arson for 17 other fires.

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