Skip to comments.Students say church arsons meant as ‘a joke’
Posted on 03/08/2006 11:03:17 AM PST by presidio9
Two college students arrested Wednesday in a string of nine rural Alabama church arsons told authorities that the first fires were set as a joke and later blazes were intended as a diversion, federal agents said.
A third college student was arrested later Wednesday in the serial arsons, according to WVTM-TV of Birmingham.
Benjamin Nathan Moseley and Russell Lee Debusk Jr., both students at Birmingham-Southern College, appeared in federal court Wednesday and were ordered held on church arson charges pending a hearing Friday.
Matthew Lee Cloyd, reportedly a student at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, was arrested midday, the WVTM reported.
An ATF affidavit said Moseley told agents on Wednesday that he, Cloyd and Debusk went to Bibb County in Cloyds Toyota sport utility vehicle on Feb. 2 and set fire to five churches. A witness quoted Cloyd as saying Moseley did it as a joke and it got out of hand, according to the affidavit.
Moseley also told agents the four church fires in west Alabama were set as a diversion to throw investigators off, an attempt that obviously did not work, the affidavit said.
Arson investigators scheduled an afternoon news conference at the Tuscaloosa airport to discuss the arrests.
The first two suspects were arrested Tuesday night, NBCs Pete Williams reported.
WVTM-TV, citing the state fire marshals office, said the two are students at Birmingham Southern College and were arrested at a college dorm.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives made the Alabama church arson case a top priority as scores of agents joined state and local law officers in the probe.
Authorities analyzed tire tracks and traced the purchase of the tires to
A federal source said the apparent motive was that the three students just liked to set and watch fires.
(Excerpt) Read more at msnbc.msn.com ...
were ordered held on church arson charges
Is that distinct from ordinary arson?
Arson a joke? For college students? They need educating on their "sense of humor."
What's funny about setting fire to five buildings? Either these kids are complete morons, or there's more to this than they're lettin' on (or both).
After about 50 years in prison, it's gonna be hillarious.
Joke? I think not. These kids were up to more than laughs. Maybe a thrill, but look deeper in to their backgrounds. Could be even more.
College students. I'm sure their parents are proud.
It opens them up to possible "hate" crimes as well.
Where they are going the education they will get will be far from "Funny"
I've seen stupid, but torching a church, thats stupid.
I know Clinton's stories of numerous church arsons in his childhood were bogus but there is a stigma over church arsons especially in the South.
They are going to be a real hit at the state pen.
Wasn't Condoleeza Rice's church burned when she was a child?
When I heard they were letting retards into college, I didn't believe it. This story appears to be proof of it, however. Hang 'em high.
Sic semper arsonists.
Don't think that is funny enough? Then try this...PLEASE! Fulfill my desire, and do us all a favor.
Look like the're going to have to finish their degrees via correspondence courses. At least their parents will save on dorm fees. ;~((
I guess they would find it hysterically funny if someone set fire to their parents house.
I am so glad these guys were over 18. Their next jokes will be performed in the State Dept. of Corrections. They can be tough comedy critics. ;o)
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