MO man faces hate crime charge, arson violation after Cape Girardeau church burned down

(Source: Storyblocks)

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KBSI) – A Missouri man faces a hate crime charge and arson violations after the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Cape Girardeau.

Christopher Scott Pritchard, 46, is charged with hate crime and arson violations after the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Cape Girardeau burned down, according to Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Sayler A. Fleming for the Eastern District of Missouri and Acting Special Agent in Charge Akil Davis for the FBI St. Louis Field Office.

Pritchard is charged with intentionally obstructing parishioners of the church in the enjoyment of their free exercise of religious beliefs and using fire to commit a federal felony. If convicted, Pritchard faces up to 20 years in prison and a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison, consecutive to any other sentence, for using fire to commit a federal felony. Pritchard also faces a fine of up to $250,000 with respect to each charge.

The Cape Girardeau County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, the Missouri State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives investigated the case. It is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Shan Patel and Noah Coakley of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Hahn for the Eastern District of Missouri.

Categories: News