Pastor’s son pleads guilty to Winder church fire

ATLANTA – A pair of men, including the son of a pastor, pleaded guilty today to setting a December 2005 fire that destroyed the sanctuary of a Winder church, according to a newspaper report.

Meanwhile, authorities suspect New Life Deliverance Church’s pastor – Rev. Quincy Arnold – asked his son to burn the church so the pastor could collect insurance money, according to reports in the Athens Banner-Herald newspaper.

The son, 25-year-old Maurice Arnold, pleaded guilty in Barrow County Superior Court to arson and other charges and is expected to be sentenced next month, The Associated Press reported. A man he hired, Bruce Edward Smith, also pleaded guilty to an arson charge and faces two years in prison followed by 15 years on probation, according to the newspaper account.

Local, state and federal authorities investigated the fire for nearly three years before announcing in January 2009 that they intended to charge Maurice Arnold. Authorities determined an arsonist used gasoline to help burn the church.

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