A pastor in California has been arrested and charged along with three others for his alleged involvement in a firebombing at the home of his ex-girlfriend’s parents.
The bizarre incident unfolded Thursday when police received a call around 3:30 a.m. from a resident of the Vacaville, Calif., home, who claimed that a Molotov cocktail had been thrown through a bedroom window, KMAX-TV reported.
Three adults and three children were sleeping inside at the time.
Police inevitably detained three individuals who were driving a rental car nearby — Anthony Newbolt, 33, Richerd Wright, 28 and Kristen Broyles, 30. Pastor Mark Lewis, 39, was not in the vehicle at the time, though police subsequently arrested him in connection with the crime.
Following the Molotov cocktail incident, Newbolt, Wright and Broyles told police that they were homeless and staying at the Fellowship Baptist Church, where Lewis is pastor, leading some to believe that he put the three up to going after Sarah Nottingham, his ex-girlfriend.
As it turns out, the preacher allegedly has a very complicated history with Nottingham, one of the residents who was inside the home, KMAX-TV reported.
Lewis is purportedly a suspect in four other crimes against her family since Christmas, including one incident in which the bushes in front of Nottingham’s parents’ home were set ablaze.
Additionally, there was also reportedly two separate incidents of vandalism involving her car and her sister-in-law’s vehicle.
Lewis’ ex-girlfriend told KCRA-TV that the pastor has been coming after her since their relationship ended.
“He told me he wasn’t ready for it to be over, basically threatened me that he had nothing to lose and that he would stop at nothing,” Nottingham said, telling KCRA-TV that she believes he wants to kill her. “I think he’s just a coward who hides behind a suit and tie and a bible. There’s no way any sort of man of God could act the way he does.”
Lewis, though, has denied involvement in the firebombing and said that he has no ill will toward his ex-girlfriend.
“No, I would not want to kill her. That’s a pretty intense statement,” he said. “And the cocktail statement? I don’t know. I don’t know anything. That’s going to come out.”
He told KTXL-TV a similar story, saying, “I didn’t do it.”
Newbolt, Wright and Broyles were arrested on charges of arson of an inhabited dwelling and possession of an incendiary device, while Lewis was arrested on charges of arson on an inhabited dwelling, conspiracy and stalking.
The pastor was released Saturday and reportedly preached the next day at Fellowship Baptist Church.
KMAX-TV reported, too, that police found an illegal handgun and what is believed to be methamphetamine inside Lewis’ home.
Featured image via KCRA-TV
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