Three white men have pleaded not guilty to torching a predominantly black church in Massachusetts hours after the election of President Barack Obama.
The three, who are free on $100,000 bond under house arrest, were arraigned Thursday. They are charged with a civil rights violation involving arson, which carries a possible 10-year prison sentence, The Springfield Republican reported.
Twenty-four-year-old Michael Jacques, 22-year-old Benjamin Haskell and 21-year-old Thomas Gleason Jr., of Springfield, were arrested Jan. 16. They were indicted by a grand jury on Tuesday.
Prosecutors say the men confessed to burning the Macedonia Church of God in Christ on Nov. 5. The $2.5 million building was still under construction but almost finished.