Michael Jacques was sentenced to 14 years in prison for the November, 2008, the night of Obama’s election, burning of a predominately black Macedonia Church of God in Christ in Springfield, MA. The church was being rebuilt and was 75% complete at the time of the fire. Jacques and his accomplices were ordered to pay $1.6 million in restitution to the Church and its insurance company.
According to the Huffington Post:
[Accomplice] Haskell told police that Jacques "was angry that the country was going to have an African American president and that the blacks and Puerto Ricans would now have more rights than whites," according to court documents.
Two accomplices, Benjamin F. Haskell and Thomas A. Gleason, pled guilty previously, but Jacques maintained his innocence, alleging that his confession was coerced and that the two accomplices were lying. Gleason testified against Jacques at trial in March, telling jurors Gleason outlined the words “hate nigger” in accelerant on the edge of the burn site.
The three were caught as part of a government sting operation; an undercover agent posed as someone looking for an arsonist to burn a business. The jury convicted Jacques after an 11-day trial last April.
Jacques maintained his innocence and that his confession after a 6-hour interrogation came from his withdrawal from the narcotic painkiller Percocet that Jacques had been abusing daily for years.
The obvious question is whether the arsonists were birthers. U. S. District Judge Michael A. Ponsor judge said:
“That something like this should happen in our community is appalling … but it had another side to it. This was a group of shiftless, pathetic young men … It was vicious, but purely blind stupidity almost beyond comprehension,” the judge said.
That sounds like fertile ground for birther beliefs, but hardly conclusive.