Cathedral Arsonist Pleads Guilty - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

11/08/04

Cathedral Arsonist Pleads Guilty

A man accused of setting fire to the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist was back in court today. Stuart Smith, 31, pleaded guilty to arson, aggravated assault, vandalism and several other charges. A judge sentenced him to 20 years in prison.

Smith walked into the cathedral on October 7, 2003, carrying a gun and lighter fluid. He set fire to the bishop's chair and the pulpit after threatening and assaulting a priest and church volunteer.

Smith says he did it to make a statement against organized religion.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com

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