North Carolina man pleads guilty to threatening to burn down African-American church

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A North Carolina man pleaded guilty today to making a telephonic threat to burn down an African-American church in Virginia Beach.

According to court documents, John Malcolm Bareswill, 63, called a Virginia Beach church with a predominantly African-American congregation, made racially derogatory remarks, and threatened to set the church on fire.

The threatening call was placed on June 7, several days after one of the church’s leaders took part in a public prayer vigil and peaceful demonstration for George Floyd.

Bareswill pleaded guilty to a criminal information charging a telephonic threat to use fire to kill, injure, or intimidate any individual, or unlawfully to damage or destroy a building. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison when sentenced on Nov. 12.


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