Donald Lee Williams is finding himself in a heap of trouble after being charged with setting fire to the South Bloomingville Christian Church earlier this month. According to authorities, Williams confessed to the crime and he was subsequently charged with arson on Tuesday.
Investigators with the Hocking County Sheriff's Office claim that the 36-year-old set the church on fire by throwing a rock through the window and then lighting a curtain on fire with a lighter. WOUB News has more:
According to Division of State Fire Marshal Spokesman Shane Cartmill, Donald Williams, 36, of South Bloomingville, was arrested on a probation violation charge a week ago.When Hocking County sheriff's detectives interviewed Williams Tuesday morning, he made comments implicating himself in the arson fire of the Bloomingville Christian Church on August 17.The fire completely destroyed the building.
"Our suspect, Mr. Williams, admitted to the arson," Sheriff Lanny North told 10TV.com. "He did not implicate anyone else other than himself."
The disturbing act was purportedly done as an act of criminal revenge after Williams told authorities that he was assaulted by an individual affiliated with the church in June 2011. North went on to say that the act wasn't as much of a hate crime as it was a "revenge crime" -- a response to the purported act that occurred more than one year ago.
Previously, Bishop Scott Davis told 10TV News that the fire was hate-based. It was suspected, according to some reports, that church officials had suspected that the house of worship's support for gays, lesbians and transgendered peoples was the root cause of the attack. Athens News previously added:
The Rev. Scott Davis says he has no doubt that the destruction of his Hocking Hills area church early last Friday was a malicious act related to the fact that the church welcomes gays and lesbians.
"It's a hate crime," he declared in an interview Tuesday afternoon. "In April we received death threats."
Williams is currently being held at Hocking County Jail on $500,000 bond. The church was insured for $300,000 and Davis claims that parishioners plan to rebuild.