A Texas man who tried to burn down a church and frame Muslims for the attack was sentenced to 40 years imprisonment Thursday.
Jurors convicted Thomas Britton of arson and criminal mischief, after only five minutes of deliberation, for setting several fires within St. Stephen Presbyterian Church in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2017 and leaving graffiti in an attempt to implicate Islamic radicals. Prosecution said that Britton intended to utterly destroy the church and that he displayed no remorse during court proceedings. (RELATED: Altar Desecrated By Satanic Vandal Cleansed, Rededicated By UK Bishop)
“His goal was not just to damage the church, but to obliterate it,” prosecutor Vincent Giardino said, according to The Associated Press. “That is insidious. It’s sinister. And he has no remorse for it.”
Britton set five fires within the church, broke several windows, and destroyed other church property, causing $784,000 in damage. Investigators said that he initially denied being at the church. He subsequently changed his story, saying that he went to the church to meet a terrorist as part of a mission to protect national security. He tried to implicate Islamic terrorists with graffiti that he left on church property, but bad spelling, among other things, tipped investigators off.
“He had written something to make it seem like the damage was done by Muslims, but he misspelled Muhammad,” Rev. Fritz Ritsch said. “It was disturbing that he was trying to make it seem like it was a terrorist act. It was all very disturbing.”
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