No Bond For Black Metal Fan Suspected Of Setting String Of Fires At Churches In Louisiana; Hate Crime Charges Added

April 15, 2019

According to ABC News, a judge has denied bail for the 21-year-old black metal fan who is suspected of having set fires at three churches in Louisiana.

Holden Matthews appeared in court on Monday. He entered a not guilty plea via his court-appointed lawyer.

Matthews did not speak at the hearing, where district attorney Earl Taylor filed a motion to deny bail because it was determined that Holden was an imminent danger to society and is a flight risk.

"We felt that he was an immediate risk to public safety," said Louisiana State Fire Marshal H. "Butch" Browning. "In my mind, I felt another fire was imminent."

Matthews has been charged with two counts of simple arson of a religious building, one count of aggravated arson and three counts of violation of hate crime statute.

Browning told ABC News that investigators found that Matthews had ties to "black metal and its association and history with church burnings in other parts of the world."

Matthews was arrested after investigators found a gas can at the scene of one of the fires and traced it back to a local Walmart and linked it to Matthews's credit card.

According to The Daily Beast, a Facebook page that appeared to belong to Matthews showed he was active in pagan and black metal pages, and that he commented on two memes about far-right former neo-Nazi metal musician Varg Vikernes, who served 15 years in prison for killing a fellow metal musician and burning churches in Norway. Matthews was also the lead singer for a band called VODKA VULTURES, according to CBS News.

One of the suspect's friends, Nygyl Bryyn, told the Associated Press that Matthews had long been upset with his parents for not supporting his musical efforts. He also said Matthews had been discouraged in recent months as Bryyn urged him to improve the quality of his recordings.

Three churches suffered devastating fires: St. Mary Baptist Church on March 26, Greater Union Baptist on April 2, and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church on April 4. All three churches are historically black and in the St. Landry Parish, which is nearly 42 percent black.

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