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Third man to be sentenced in black church arson

January 16, 2012
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass.—The last of three Massachusetts men charged in the burning of a predominantly black church to protest President Obama's election faces sentencing in federal court.

Thomas Gleason pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy against civil rights and other charges for what prosecutors called a racially motivated arson.

Prosecutors said Gleason and two friends burned down the Macedonia Church of God in Christ in Springfield on Nov. 5, 2008, hours after Obama was elected as the nation's first black president.

The church was under construction at the time and no one was inside.

Michael Jacques was sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison, while Benjamin Haskell received a nine-year sentence. All three men are white and lived near the church.

Gleason is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Springfield.

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