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Churches Arson

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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 15, 1996 | From Religion News Service
Heeding a call this week from President Clinton, religious leaders nationwide said they plan to speak out from the pulpit against racism and offer aid to African American churches destroyed by a string of arsons throughout the South. In a speech Wednesday at the rededication of Mount Zion AME Church in Greeleyville, S.C.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 9, 2013 | By Richard Winton
A 35-year-old parolee was found guilty Tuesday of torching St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Hacienda Heights two years ago, causing about $9 million in damage Gregory Yusuke Shiga of Hacienda Heights was convicted of five felonies, including aggravated arson, arson of a structure, arson of an inhabited structure, possession of flammable material and second-degree commercial burglary, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Renee Rose.  Rose said Shiga broke into the church's sanctuary just after midnight April 16, 2011.
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NEWS
April 17, 1997 | From Times Wire Reports
An arson attack on a Roman Catholic church followed overnight rioting in this embattled British province. In the latest in a string of sectarian attacks, vestments and the interior of a church in Annaclone were damaged by a deliberately set early morning fire, the fifth in two weeks at Catholic churches, police said. The blaze followed overnight clashes between Protestants and Catholics near Lurgan.
NATIONAL
December 21, 2006 | From Times Wire Reports
Three former college students pleaded guilty in Birmingham to federal arson charges for burning nine churches in a series of blazes that alarmed rural congregations across the state. Matthew Cloyd, Benjamin Nathan Moseley and Russell Lee DeBusk entered the guilty pleas to arson and conspiracy charges in the string of church fires set on two nights in February. The three wore orange jail jumpsuits and leg chains as they stood before U.S.
NEWS
April 22, 1999 | From Times Wire Reports
An Indiana man charged with 10 church arsons could face the death penalty for a Georgia blaze that killed a volunteer firefighter. Federal grand juries in Atlanta and Indianapolis indicted Jay Scott Ballinger, 36, who Indiana police say dabbled in satanic rituals. Ballinger is accused of seven church arsons in Indiana and three in Georgia. Ballinger, of Yorktown, Ind., was arrested in February in connection with an Ohio fire.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 9, 2013 | By Richard Winton
A 35-year-old parolee was found guilty Tuesday of torching St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Hacienda Heights two years ago, causing about $9 million in damage Gregory Yusuke Shiga of Hacienda Heights was convicted of five felonies, including aggravated arson, arson of a structure, arson of an inhabited structure, possession of flammable material and second-degree commercial burglary, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Renee Rose.  Rose said Shiga broke into the church's sanctuary just after midnight April 16, 2011.
NEWS
September 13, 1996 | From Associated Press
Gov. Pete Wilson signed several bills Thursday, including legislation creating a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone who sets fire to a church. "Racial or religious hatred cannot be tolerated in a civilized society," Wilson said in a prepared statement. "We must not sit by and allow the erosion of the fundamental liberty to worship freely without fear or persecution." The legislation was written by Assemblyman Kevin Murray (D-Los Angeles).
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 7, 1993 | ALICIA DI RADO
Gov. Pete Wilson on Tuesday added $10,000 to the reward for information leading to the arrest of arsonists who set a Reseda church afire three times in less than nine months. The money, drawn from the state's General Fund, brings the total reward for information on the burning of Grace Hungarian Reformed Church to $50,000, a Wilson spokesman said. The 140-member church at 18858 Erwin St. was destroyed by fire Dec. 13, a $300,000 loss, according to church officials.
NEWS
June 9, 1997 | DAVID G. SAVAGE, TIMES STAFF WRITER
One year after a rash of fires at African American churches prompted the creation of a national task force to combat church arson, its leaders said Sunday that they have found no evidence of a racist conspiracy or even a clear pattern to the crimes. "It's difficult to draw conclusions on why this happened," said Assistant Treasury Secretary James E. Johnson, who co-chaired the task force. "We have not seen hard evidence to support the theory of a nationwide conspiracy.
NATIONAL
December 21, 2006 | From Times Wire Reports
Three former college students pleaded guilty in Birmingham to federal arson charges for burning nine churches in a series of blazes that alarmed rural congregations across the state. Matthew Cloyd, Benjamin Nathan Moseley and Russell Lee DeBusk entered the guilty pleas to arson and conspiracy charges in the string of church fires set on two nights in February. The three wore orange jail jumpsuits and leg chains as they stood before U.S.
NATIONAL
May 4, 2006 | From Times Wire Reports
Three college students accused of setting fire to a string of rural churches now face state arson and burglary charges, in addition to federal conspiracy counts, state Atty. Gen. Troy King announced in Centreville. "Many have said that these were just college pranks, that this was a joke that got out of hand," King said. "It was not a joke then, it is not a joke now." The fires damaged or destroyed five churches in Bibb County, south of Birmingham, on Feb.
NATIONAL
April 14, 2006 | From Times Wire Reports
Three men accused of setting fire to nine churches pleaded not guilty during a hearing before a U.S. magistrate in Birmingham. Defendants Matthew Cloyd, 20, and Benjamin Moseley, 19, were charged with conspiracy and nine arson counts. Russell DeBusk, 19, was charged with conspiracy and five arson counts.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 25, 2005 | From Times Staff Reports
A Christmas fire that destroyed Calvary Lutheran Evangelical Church in Santa Ana was deliberate, fire officials said Monday. The 42-year-old church, in the 5300 block of McFadden Avenue, also was used by Saigon Reform Presbyterian. No one was injured in the blaze, but damage was estimated at $1 million.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 28, 2000 | HECTOR BECERRA, TIMES STAFF WRITER
The investigation last week of the fire at St. Philip Benizi Catholic Church in Fullerton was different from many of the tens of thousands of arson cases that take place each year. Federal agents were among those sifting through the debris. "We have a carte blanche on church fires," said Karl Anglin, an arson profiler and supervisory special agent for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms' Los Angeles Arson Explosives Task Force.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 22, 2000 | ANA BEATRIZ CHOLO, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
As teams of local, state and federal investigators sifted through the debris of a Fullerton church gutted by fire last week, authorities interviewed people Monday to try to find suspects and a motive for the blaze. Investigators said the blaze at St. Philip Benizi Catholic Church on Thursday was intentionally set. "The fire was of an incendiary nature," said Virginia O'Brien, who heads the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms' Los Angeles Field Division. "It was deliberately set."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 5, 2000 | LARRY B. STAMMER
The national outcry over arson fires at churches in 1996 and 1997 has abated, but houses of worship continue to be burned and vandalized. Eleven incidents have been reported since January in South Carolina, and religious leaders in Southern California and around the country are again sounding the alarm and appealing for help in rebuilding burned churches. "Churches continue to be burned in what seem to be hate crimes. Some [suspects] are caught, arrested and prosecuted.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 24, 1999 | Religion News Service
A former Church of Christ minister was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years in prison for burning or vandalizing four Mormon houses of worship, including one where his ex-lover was the organist. Prosecutors said Walter Grassie, 50, went on a rampage because he was angry when organist Sharlene Jensen broke off their affair after eight years in 1998, saying that her Mormon faith does not allow divorce. Before being led from an Albuquerque, N.M.
NEWS
June 28, 1996 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Hoping to prevent California from suffering the arson fires that have plagued predominantly African American churches in other parts of the country recently, Gov. Pete Wilson on Thursday recommended sharply stiffer penalties for such offenses. Wilson said the crime should be added to the state's existing "one strike" arson law. It would require a sentence of 10 years to life in prison for those found guilty of setting fires that cause injury or at least $5 million in property damage.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 24, 1999 | Religion News Service
A former Church of Christ minister was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years in prison for burning or vandalizing four Mormon houses of worship, including one where his ex-lover was the organist. Prosecutors said Walter Grassie, 50, went on a rampage because he was angry when organist Sharlene Jensen broke off their affair after eight years in 1998, saying that her Mormon faith does not allow divorce. Before being led from an Albuquerque, N.M.
NEWS
April 22, 1999 | From Times Wire Reports
An Indiana man charged with 10 church arsons could face the death penalty for a Georgia blaze that killed a volunteer firefighter. Federal grand juries in Atlanta and Indianapolis indicted Jay Scott Ballinger, 36, who Indiana police say dabbled in satanic rituals. Ballinger is accused of seven church arsons in Indiana and three in Georgia. Ballinger, of Yorktown, Ind., was arrested in February in connection with an Ohio fire.
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