Matthews must pay $ 590,246 to St. Mary Baptist, $ 970,213.30 at Greater Union and $ 1.1 million at Mt. Pleasant, the DOJ said in a statement on Monday. It will have three years of supervised release.
CNN contacted a proxy for Matthews.
The fires destroyed all three churches in Landry Parish.
“These churches trace their origins to the post-Civil War reconstruction period and, for generations, have been a place for mostly African-American Christians to gather, pray, worship and celebrate their faith,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Department said. “The churches survived for almost 150 years, but they did not survive the distorted act of hatred of this accused.”
Matthew admitted that after setting fire to the latter, he took photos and videos with his mobile phone and posted them on Facebook “in an effort to promote himself in the Black Metal community,” according to the statement.
Matthews was arrested on April 11, 2019.
“The members of St. Mary’s Baptist Church, the Great Union Baptist Church, and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church are the ones who have suffered the most from these horrific crimes and lost not only physical buildings but emotional objects that cannot be replaced.” U.S. Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook of the Louisiana District said.
Matthews pleaded guilty to three counts of violating the Church Arson Prevention Act – one count for each church – and pleading guilty to using fire to commit a federal crime, the DOJ said.