Dec. 22, 2011
BOSTON — The Macedonia Church of God in Christ in Springfield, Mass., had just been newly constructed and was 75 percent near completion on Nov. 5, 2008, when, in the early morning hours, Michael Jacques and co-conspirators Benjamin Haskell and Thomas Gleason entered the building grounds and burnt the church to the ground.
The fire destroyed nearly the entire structure; when congregants arrived later to view the damage, all that was left was a metal superstructure and a small portion of the front corner.
On Dec. 22, U.S. District Judge Michael Ponsor sentenced Jacques, 27, to 166 months in prison. That is to be followed by four years of supervised release. The convicted arsonist was also ordered to pay nearly $1.6 million in restitution. Nearly $124,000 thousand of that goes to the Macedonia Church of God in Christ.
Jacques and the other men admitted to setting the blaze as a protest to the election of the nation¹s first black president. In November of last year, Haskell was sentenced to nine years in prison. Gleason is scheduled to be sentenced in mid-January.