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Last updated 1:30AM ET
March 7, 2021
Three Men Sentenced to Prison for Church Fires
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - A federal judge sent three former college students to prison on Monday for a series of rural church fires last year. The men say the arson spree started as a prank during a night of drinking. Matthew Cloyd, 21, and Benjamin Nathan Moseley and Russell Lee DeBusk, both 20, pleaded guilty in December to federal arson and conspiracy charges. Cloyd and Mosely were both sentenced Monday to eight years in prison, five years of probation and ordered to serve 300 hours of community service at the burned churches. They were also ordered to pay $3.1 million in restitution to the churches that were burned. U.S. District Judge David Proctor sentenced DeBusk to seven years in prison and five years probation and ordered him to pay $1.9 million in restitution. He received a lighter sentence because he was not involved in as many of the fires. All three wore orange jail-issued jump suits, and showed no emotion when the sentence was read. They apologized to the church members and pastors in the courtroom, which also included a number of their relatives.
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