Holden Matthews Biography — Wiki
Holden Matthews is a white man who pleaded guilty to intentionally setting fire to the three African American Baptist churches over a 10-day period in March and April 2019, “because of the religious character of these buildings, in an effort to raise his profile as a ‘Black Metal’ musician.”
Matthews was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $2.66 million in restitution to the churches, according to the Justice Department.
Matthews could have been sentenced to 70 years in prison, according to prosecutors.
Holden Matthews Age
Holden Mathews is 22 years old as of 2020.
Holden Matthews Family
Matthews’ father is a sheriff’s deputy in St. Landry Parish. In April, St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz said Matthews’ father “helped facilitate” his son’s arrest and had “no knowledge” of the arson spree.
What exactly Holden Matthews did
Matthews’ reign of terror started on March 26, 2019, setting fire to St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre, Louisiana. On April 2, 2019, he set fire to the Greater Union Baptist Church in Opelousas, Louisiana, and two days later he torched the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, also in Opelousas.
He was arrested in April after investigators traced three gas cans found at one of the burned churches to a local Walmart and discovered through credit card receipts that they were purchased by Matthews.
Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division said Matthews also admitted to taking and posting photographs and videos on Facebook showing the first two church burnings in hopes of promoting himself in the Black Metal community.
“Some believe you should receive the death penalty, some want to kill you themselves and others believe your punishment today will not be enough,” Kyle Sylvester, a pastor, told Matthews.
Holden Matthews was inspired by ‘Black Metal’ musician
Federal prosecutors said Matthews admitted to setting the fires because of the “religious character of these buildings” and in an effort to raise his profile as a “Black Metal” musician in Norway in the 1990s who set fire to churches, the department said.
He pleaded guilty in February to three counts of using fire to commit a felony and three counts of intentional damage to religious property, which are hate crimes under the Church Arson Prevention Act of 1996.
What we know about Holden Matthews so far
Defense attorneys called a clinical psychologist who evaluated Matthews’ mental state to testify on Friday.
Mary Lou Kelley, a professor at Louisiana State University, said Matthews suffers from untreated social anxiety, arrested social development and socially avoidant behavior that stems from a fear of social rejection.
Kelley claimed that Matthews has a history of alcohol and that he got drunk before setting each fire.
“His mother continuously told him to pray and it’ll get better. … He was angry at God because his prayers weren’t heard. I think if he had gotten the mental health services he needed he would not be here today,” Kelley said.
Donations for the rebuilding of burned churches
Following the arson fires, churches and religious groups throughout Louisiana and the nation donated more than $2 million to a GoFundMe site established by the Seventh District Baptist Association, a 150-year-old nonprofit religious organization, to help rebuild the three burned churches.