Hearing Postponed for Church Fires Suspects

A federal judge postponed a hearing set for Friday to determine whether to grant bond for three college students accused of setting fires that damaged or destroyed nine rural churches in Alabama.

In a brief docket note, U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert R. Armstrong said he was delaying the hearing until 3 p.m. Wednesday at the request of lawyers for Russell Lee DeBusk Jr. and Benjamin Nathan Moseley, both 19, and Matthew Lee Cloyd, 20.

The move meant the three will remain jailed at least until next week on federal charges of conspiracy and burning down a church.

DeBusk and Moseley, both theater students at Birmingham-Southern College, were arrested Wednesday along with Cloyd, a pre-med student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The three are accused of setting fire to nine country churches in early February.

Court documents indicate the fires began as a joke that got out of hand. Authorities say investigators believe alcohol was a factor.

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