Henry County Teen Sentenced for Church Fire

Prosecutors say Jean Claude Bridges, 18, admitted setting fire to the church because of the racial makeup of its congregation

Friday, May 3, 2013  |  Updated 7:44 AM EDT
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A Henry County, Va., teenager has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for setting fire to a church.

Jean Claude Bridges, 18, pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of destroying a religious property by fire. He was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Danville.

Bridges was 17 when the crime occurred, but the court granted the government's motion to prosecute him as an adult.

The predominantly black New Holy Deliverance Outreach Ministry near Axton was burned down on May 20, 2012. Prosecutors say Bridges admitted setting fire to the church because of the racial makeup of its congregation.

Along with the prison term, Bridges was ordered to pay nearly $142,000 in restitution.

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