Two charged in Christmas Day church arson - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Two charged in Christmas Day church arson

LOWNDES CO., GA (WALB) -

A church arson case helps solve a series of church break-ins.

Two people are in jail now charged with burning down a Lowndes County church on Christmas Day.

Investigators say they set the fire to cover up a burglary. They're also now charged with breaking into other churches in three counties.

Ousley Temple Church Pastor Curtis Sermons says he hasn't been able to drive down Ousley Road since his church burned to the ground Christmas Day.

"I cut off up the road to keep from coming by here because every time I see this it brings tears to my eyes," said Sermons.  

But tonight he's thankful to know two people accused of setting the fire have been arrested. Lowndes County investigators charged Martavius Davis and Relandall Samuel with arson, burglary, and vandalism to a place of worship.

"In one way I can say that I am glad that they have been caught, in another way I'm sad because of what they did," said Sermons.

On December 25th, a witness spotted someone running from the burning church then driving away in a truck. Investigators then discovered sound equipment had been stolen from the church.

After finding some of the equipment in pawn shops, officials searched the suspects' homes for more. The duo have since been charged with multiple other church burglaries around south Georgia.

"They told me it was easy money, the knew the churches would have valuables and cash in the inside. So it was just easy money for them," said LCSO investigator, Chris Burke.

Burke says it's a relief to know that the church wasn't the target of a hate crime. But Sermons says it makes no difference to him.

"It's almost the same to me, because we lost what we had and we are working hard to restore it," said Sermons.

The church has raised $10,000 since the fire and they plan to rebuild in the future.

Davis and Samuel are also charged with breaking into churches in Thomas and Brooks Counties.

Three other suspects, Archie Cone, Kelle Lawrence, and Jessica McKeitchen, are charged with theft by receiving stolen property and theft by deception, accused of helping sell the stolen property.

Copyright 2013 WALB.  All rights reserved.

  • More WALB News10 HeadlinesMore News HeadlinesMore>>

  • UPDATE: AMA receives a new roof after the January storms

    UPDATE: AMA receives a new roof after the January storms

    Monday, March 27 2017 6:22 AM EDT2017-03-27 10:22:04 GMT
    The Albany Museum of Art was hit hard by the January 2nd windstorm (Source:WALB)The Albany Museum of Art was hit hard by the January 2nd windstorm (Source:WALB)

    After nearly three months with a temporary roof, the Albany Museum of Art is now getting a permanent one. Albany Museum of Art’s Executive Director Paula Williams told WALB News 10 that the building sustained around $3 million worth of damage due to the January storms.

    More >>

    After nearly three months with a temporary roof, the Albany Museum of Art is now getting a permanent one. Albany Museum of Art’s Executive Director Paula Williams told WALB News 10 that the building sustained around $3 million worth of damage due to the January storms.

    More >>
  • Status hearing set for woman accused of killing her husband

    Status hearing set for woman accused of killing her husband

    Sunday, March 26 2017 10:10 PM EDT2017-03-27 02:10:46 GMT
    Susan Embert (Source: WALB)Susan Embert (Source: WALB)

    A Dougherty County woman charged with killing her husband and staging it to look like suicide will face a judge Monday. Susan Embert is charged with the murder of her husband Jake Embert that happened back in 2014.

    More >>

    A Dougherty County woman charged with killing her husband and staging it to look like suicide will face a judge Monday. Susan Embert is charged with the murder of her husband Jake Embert that happened back in 2014.

    More >>
  • Sentencing hearing set for man convicted in lottery winner's murder

    Sentencing hearing set for man convicted in lottery winner's murder

    Sunday, March 26 2017 9:56 PM EDT2017-03-27 01:56:56 GMT
    (Source: WALB)(Source: WALB)

    A second man convicted for the murder of a Fitzgerald lottery winner will learn his fate this week. A jury found Wayan Malik Jordan guilty on 14 charges including malice murder, felony murder and armed robbery.

    More >>

    A second man convicted for the murder of a Fitzgerald lottery winner will learn his fate this week. A jury found Wayan Malik Jordan guilty on 14 charges including malice murder, felony murder and armed robbery.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly