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Pastor accused of arson had restraining order pending

A California religious leader who has been accused of bombing his ex-girlfriend's home claims that he was not involved in the attack. News reports show that the man is accused of a series of attacks against the woman; she had reportedly sought and received a restraining order against the pastor of the Fellowship Baptist Church. The defendant in the case says he has been falsely implicated in the firebombing, which occurred as six other people were inside the victim's home.

Authorities say that the 39-year-old pastor was arrested on Jan. 10 after allegedly participating in arson of an inhabited dwelling. The man is further accused of stalking and conspiracy, according to official reports. A lit Molotov cocktail was reportedly thrown through the victim's window just one day before the man was apprehended. No one was harmed during the arson event, though three children and three others were sleeping in the home at the time of the attack. Three other individuals ages 28 to 30 have been arrested and charged in the case; all three have entered not-guilty pleas in connection with arson allegations and accusations of possessing explosive material.

This is not the man's first run-in with the law; he has a criminal record that includes arrest for harassment and vandalism against his ex-girlfriend. The man is accused of setting the woman's shrubbery on fire in one of the family violence incidents. Further, a search of the man's home near his church revealed that he may have been hiding an illegal handgun, along with suspected drugs and additional evidence that may link him to the alleged arson.

Defendants who are the subject of temporary restraining orders or accused of domestic assault charges still have rights in court. Even though the man is accused of causing his ex-girlfriend some distress - and perhaps even some property damage - he still deserves a fair legal proceeding. California criminal defense attorneys may be able to provide assistance to such defendants, educating them about their legal rights from arraignment through sentencing and beyond.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, "California pastor says innocent in firebombing" No author given, Jan. 14, 2014

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