Man Gets 14 Years for Burning Black Church

He was described as "shiftless and pathetic" by a judge for his role in the crime, which was inspired by Obama's election.

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Bishop Bryant Robinson Jr., of the Macedonia Church of God in Christ
(Michael S. Gordon/the Republican)

The second of three Springfield, Mass., men termed "shiftless and pathetic" by a judge was sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison for burning the city's predominantly black Macedonia Church of God in Christ to the ground just after President Barack Obama was elected.

Michael F. Jacques Jr., 27, was convicted of a civil rights violation, malicious destruction of religious property and using arson in the commission of a felony. The civil rights conviction triggered a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence. He was ordered to pay his share of $1.6 million in restitution to the church and two of its insurance companies. 

His co-defendants, Benjamin F. Haskell, 25, and Thomas A. Gleason, 24, previously pleaded guilty in connection with the crime. They admitted dousing the partially constructed church with gas and setting it on fire to denounce the election of the nation's first black president. The pair said that Jacques accompanied them.

Gleason admitted outlining the words "hate nigger" in accelerant on the edge of the burn site. He'll have plenty of time behind bars to think about whether that was the best way to express one's dissatisfaction with an election.

Read more at the Washington Post. 

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