Man Gets More Than 37 Years for Texas Church Arson

December 2, 2011

A West Texas man has been sentenced to more than 37 years in prison for torching a church in a hate crimes case.

A federal judge in Midland on Wednesday sentenced Steven Scott Cantrell of Crane.

Cantrell in September pleaded guilty to arson, damaging religious property, interfering with housing and using fire in the crime.

Prosecutors say Cantrell last December burned predominantly black Faith in Christ Church in Crane and also wanted to kill a disabled black man seen nearby.

The Odessa American reports Cantrell was also blamed for fires that damaged two other churches, a gymnasium and a house.

Prosecutor Victor Boutros says investigators found racist graffiti linked to Cantrell.

Cantrell, who apologized, was sentenced to 450 months in prison and ordered to pay nearly $551,000 in restitution.

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