Man denies burning black church after Obama's election - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Man denies burning black church after Obama's election

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) - A white Massachusetts man faces 10 to 60 years in federal prison if convicted of burning a black church in the hours after President Barack Obama's 2008 election.

On Monday, jurors heard closing arguments in the trial of Michael Jacques.  He and two friends were charged with setting fire to the Macedonia Church of God in Christ in Springfield just hours after Obama's election as president in November 2008.

The two friends pleaded guilty. One was sentenced to nine years in prison and the other awaits sentencing.

A prosecutor told jurors Monday that Jacques, 26, was motivated "by pure unadulterated racism."  Jacques says he's innocent and was coerced into confessing while suffering withdrawal from painkillers and cigarettes.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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