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Black Church Arson a Day After Obama Election Brings Second Civil Rights Guilty Plea

Macedonia Church of Christ in God, Springfield, Mass.

Macedonia Church of Christ in God in flames, Nov. 5 2008 (CBS/WSHM/Springfield Fire Dept.)
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) A second man has pleaded guilty to setting a fire that destroyed a predominantly black Massachusetts church hours after Barack Obama was elected president.

Thomas Gleason Jr. pleaded guilty Tuesday to three counts in Springfield federal court: conspiracy against civil rights; damage or destruction to religious property; and the use of fire to commit a felony.

Gleason is one of three white men charged with burning down the Macedonia Church of God in Christ on Nov. 5, 2008, the day after Obama was elected the country's first black president.

Sentencing for Gleason is scheduled for Oct. 1. The felony fire count carries a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison.

Last week, another man pleaded guilty in a deal that calls for him to spend nine years in prison.

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  • Barry Leibowitz

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