Monday, March 21, 2011

A federal prosecutor says a man accused of setting fire to a predominantly black church in western Massachusetts hours after the election of President Barack Obama was motivated by racism and has admitted to the crime.

Paul Smyth said Monday in his opening statement that Michael Jacques (JAKES) and two others who have pleaded guilty in the case complained black people would have more rights than whites.

Jacques' lawyer says he is innocent. He could face up to 60 years in prison if convicted of conspiracy against civil rights, damage to religious property and other charges.

Smyth showed a video of Jacques' confession that the men broke into the Macedonia Church of God in Christ in Springfield and poured gasoline before setting it ablaze.


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