Holden Matthews has been charged with three counts of arson and three hate crimes – one for each of the Black churches that he burned down in Louisiana parish within 10 days.
Matthews pleaded not guilty to all charges on Monday for the fires that destroyed St. Mary Baptist Church on March 26, Greater Union Baptist Church on April 2 and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church on April 4.
Matthews has clung onto his guilty plea even they investigators found photos on Matthews’ phone of the fires as they were starting and after first responders arrived. Investigators also easily found a video in his phone of Matthews recording the crime scenes after the churches had been burned down to almost nothing.
As if that wasn’t enough, investigators found news articles on Matthews’ phone where he had superimposed himself into them, admitting to causing the fires.
But fortunately, a social media hero has been found in former New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson. Watson has been using his platform to spread the word about a GoFundMe page to help rebuild the churches. The GoFundMe page was created by Seventh District Baptist Association Finance Secretary Ruth V. Jack.
As of Wednesday morning, the GoFundMe page has raised $970,466 of a $1.8 million goal, not including mail-in donations.