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Shock in the arrest of the deputy's son in black churches



OPELOUSAS, La. (AP) – The authorities said he had no known criminal record. A friend described him as an inward-looking wildlife that showed no enmity against any race, and a talented, frustrated, heavy metal guitarist and singer. Another musician called him "a really sweet guy."

RELATED:

Suspected fires consuming 3 black churches in 10 days in Louisiana parish

But Holden Matthews, the white 21

-year-old son of a Louisiana Sheriff's deputy, was behind the towers, accused of burning three centuries old African American churches during a 10-day period in and around Opelousas. The city of 16,000 people were put on the edge of blazes, which evoked remembrance of terrorist acts during the civil rights movement.

A fragment of a charred petrol can, surveillance video that caught what seemed to be his parent's truck in key locations, debit card records, and cellphone tracking techniques led the authorities to arrest Matthews on Wednesday night. But even though the arrest warrant showed how they remained Matthews for the crime, federal, state, and local government assembled for a Thursday conference at St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office, not ready to discuss motives.

Eric Rommal, the agent of the New Orleans FBI office, still told investigators to investigate whether the fire was "bias motivated".

Matthews, scheduled for a Monday morning tie hearing, had a defender at Nygyl Bryyn Blackwolf, listed as Nygyl Bryyn among Matthew's Facebook friends. Blackwolf identified himself as a resident of South Louisiana, the musician, entrepreneur, and owner of the independent record label Power Back Productions. In a Los Angeles telephone interview on Thursday, he described Matthews as a talented, sometimes frustrated musician – upset over the last few months after being told he needed to improve the quality of his footage – but not a racist or violent person.

"If he makes a statement, it is only against religion and establishment, not against race," he said and later added: "I do not think he did, but if he did, it would not be because the churches Blackwolf, 36, a native of Opelousas, said he met Matthews after moving out of state when Matthews, who played guitar and song, responded to an online advertisement while she was seeking a recording deal with Power Back Productions. They worked together and met face to face over the years. Matthews was, contrary to his parents, over his music flows, said Blackwolf, but never showed signs of violence or racism.

Matthews had shown interest in "black metal", an extreme subgenre of heavy metal, the state of Fire Marshall Butch Browning said. The music has in some cases been associated with fires at Christian churches in Norway in the 1990s.

A Facebook page that appeared to belong to Matthews showed him with the words "black metal" spray painted on a wall behind him. He also wrote a comment on the film's depiction of the black metal musician Varg Vikernes, a far right picture convicted of violence and arson in three churches.

Black metal texts often include Satanism and paganism, and a few bands have neo-Nazi beliefs.

However, Blackwolf insisted that the black metal genre is not characterized by racism. He acknowledged that some, but not everyone, involved in black metal music may have expressed racism, but he said it is not typical of the genre.

"We have friends of all races," he said.

Josh Cook, 27, a musician from Hammond, Louisiana, said he heard about the church burns before Matthew's arrest and had wondered if they could have been inspired by Church fires in Norway. He said there is an "elitist" element in the black metal music scene that is fascinated by these church burials.

But he echoed Blackwolf's description of Matthews and said the suspect was friends with a very diverse group of people and a "good guy" who never showed signs of racism.

"He's actually a really cute guy, so I was so surprised to hear what happened," Cook said. "He was not a jerk. He was very tolerant. He was very loving and very encouraging." Matthew's father, Roy Matthews, "broke down" when he said his son was the suspect, Sheriff Bobby Guidroz said.

Guidroz said the father assisted the authorities by arranging the son to leave the house and going to a place where he could be arrested without incident. He did not elaborate.

The younger Matthews were arrested on three thresholds by a religious building. A conviction could bring up to 15 years in prison on each counter, Browning says.

The fire puts many people on the edge in and around Opelousas, about 140 miles (225 kilometers) northwest of New Orleans.

GOV. John Bel Edwards said the fire was "particularly painful" because they were a reminder of a very dark past with intimidation and fear. "

" "This is a reflection of a depraved person," he added. "It is not a consideration of Louisiana."

A journalist from the Associated Press was dismissed Thursday from what was thought to be the home the suspect shared. with his parents

Matthew's arrest came just over two weeks after the first flame at St. Mary Baptist Church on March 26 in Port Barre, a city just outside Opelousas. Days later became the Great Union Baptist Church and Mount Pleasant The Baptist Church in Opelousas burned. Each was more than 100 years old.

The churches were empty at that time, and no one was wounded.

Rev. Harry Richard, pastor of the Greater Union Baptist Church, who was destroyed, said the arrest quietly let him sleep at night. "" I felt relieved, my ward did not need to worry anymore, "said Richard, told about the arrest late Wednesday." I was reassured that law enforcement was on our site that was finally an end. "

___

McGill reported from New Orleans and Opelousas. Associated Press Authors Stacey Plaisance of Opelousas and Michael Kunzelman of College Park, Maryland, contributed to this report.

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