Man expected to plead guilty in torching of black Mass. church in hours after Obama’s election

By Mark Pratt, AP
Friday, June 11, 2010

Guilty plea expected in Mass. black church arson

BOSTON — A person familiar with the investigation says one of three white men accused of torching a predominantly black Massachusetts church because they were angry with President Barack Obama’s election has agreed to plead guilty.

Benjamin Haskell is due for a change of plea hearing Wednesday in federal court in Springfield, Mass. The 23-year-old Haskell had pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges.

A person informed of the change of plea tells The Associated Press that Haskell will plead guilty. The person spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the hearing. The proceeding originally was scheduled for Tuesday.

Haskell’s attorney and federal prosecutors did not immediately return messages.

The fire destroyed the Macedonia Church of God in Christ in Springfield on Nov. 5, 2008, just hours after the election.

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