2 College Students Arrested In String of Alabama Church Fires

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Two Birmingham Southern College students have been arrested in connection with last month’s Alabama church fires.

Ben Moseley, 19, and Russell Debusk are scheduled to appear in federal court March 8. An additional suspect has been identified as Matthew Lee Cloyd, who is possibly a student at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. He has yet to be apprehended.

The three suspected arsonists are believed to have torched nine Baptist churches on Feb. 3 and Feb. 7. Most of the targets were in rural settings. Half had predominantly white congregations, while the other half had predominantly black congregations.

A motive for the arsons has not been determined. The FBI was investigating whether the fires could be considered hate crimes under the Church Arson Prevention Act.

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