Plea change scheduled in African-American church arson case

A suspect set for trial next month in a series of fires at African-American churches in Louisiana is now scheduled for a change-of-plea hearing.

Holden Matthews has pleaded not guilty to federal charges arising from the arson fires at south Louisiana churches. However, a new court filing says a plea-change hearing now is set for Feb. 10.

Three historic African-American churches were burned in a span of 10 days, beginning in late March 2019, in and around the city of Opelousas, about 140 miles west of New Orleans.

The indictment does not mention racism as a motive. It says the fires were set “because of the religious character” of the properties. (AP)