A black Virginia minister accused of setting his own front porch on fire and spray-painting the N-word on his home, in an attempt to fake a hate crime, was sentenced Thursday to two years in prison.
Olander D. Cuthrell, 41, the former minister of music at Gospel Shepherd Baptist Church and an Army veteran, told the judge he was ashamed and embarrassed of what he did in March amid financial woes.
“It was the most irrational decision that I made in my life,” he told the judge, according to the Times Dispatch. “I can’t say just how bad I hate it.”
Cuthrell was accused of spray-painting the N-word on two sides of his home, pouring gasoline on his family's porch and then igniting it and setting his family's parked 1992 BMW on fire.
After setting the fires he went back inside the home, stripped himself of his clothes and went to sleep "waiting for the house to burn down," Chesterfield prosecutor Laura Khawaja said in court, according to the Times Dispatch.
His son, however, reportedly discovered the porch fire and extinguished its flames while the car fire flared out on its own.
Authorities quickly turned their focus on Cuthrell in their investigation and the minister ultimately confessed to setting the fire, saying he was motivated by financial problems. Cuthrell was arrested back in April.
“I think he is a good man who did something bad in a moment of weakness,” defense attorney Richard Gates reportedly told the judge.
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