State and federal investigators obtained surveillance photographs of the person who — together with the Scepter-branded fuel cans — additionally bought a 10-pack of automotive cloths and a lighter at a Walmart in St. Landry Parish. The cashier recorded the 21-year-old’s birthdate on the receipt, the affidavit stated.
When investigators realized that Walmart was among the many sellers of Scepter fuel cans, they requested the retailer to examine latest purchases — and that is how they got here throughout particulars of the March 25 purchase on the St. Landry Parish retailer, the affidavit says.
Not a lot is thought right now about Matthews. He’s the son of a St. Landry Parish sheriff’s deputy and should have been influenced by “black steel” music and its “related historical past with church burnings,” State Fireplace Marshal H. “Butch” Browning stated. However Matthews left an extended path of clues that in the end led to his arrest Wednesday.
“We’re extraordinarily, unequivocally assured that we’ve the one that is answerable for these tragic crimes,” Browning stated.
A pickup believed to have been pushed by Matthews was captured by surveillance cameras leaving the parking zone of Larger Union Baptist Church moments earlier than it went up in flames April 2.
The affidavit stated the pickup was later captured driving by the fireplace scene and stopping in entrance of the church. A firefighter additionally reported seeing the pickup close to the burning church, the affidavit stated.
A Walmart surveillance picture confirmed Matthews in the same pickup outdoors the shop. The Walmart buy was made late on March 25, lower than three hours earlier than the primary blaze. A Ford pickup such because the one Matthews was seen driving was registered to his father, Roy. The suspect’s cellular phone was traced to the world of the fires, the affidavit stated.
“This case was solved with boots on the bottom and butts within the air,” stated St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz, including that Roy Matthews helped direct his son away from his residence to facilitate the arrest.
The motive for the fires remains to be below investigation, and federal officers are trying into whether or not a hate crime was dedicated. Matthews is charged with three counts of straightforward arson on a spiritual constructing.
Pressed on the doable “black steel” hyperlink, Browning stated: “We imagine there’s a relation there with that. That’s nonetheless being vetted. … That could be a piece that we’re taking a look at.”
Investigators study his Fb posts on music and Nordic faith
Matthews was lively in Fb teams that targeted on black steel and heathenism and Nordic non secular beliefs, based on posts seen by CNN. In a single publish he wrote of his Asatru beliefs, which focus on Norse gods.
In two Fb posts in October, he appeared to confess he illegally carries a handgun — along with a knife and dagger.
“I carry this,” he wrote with the picture of a handgun. “Possibly not legally however I solely really comply with the regulation of Odin….. which says as you stated, arm your self.”
On the day that authorities stated Matthews allegedly set fireplace to Larger Union Baptist Church in Opelousas, he wrote, “I will take Arson/murderer/bard” when a bunch member requested folks to decide on between a wizard, fighter, sniper, murderer, guardian and warrior.
The suspect’s father — a sheriff’s deputy — was heartbroken, sheriff says
Guidroz, the sheriff, spoke of the problem of informing deputy Roy Matthews about his son. The deputy broke down.
“I really like Roy Matthews,” Guidroz stated. “Roy Matthews is certainly one of my greatest associates. An ideal deputy. He knew nothing, nothing about his son’s exercise.”
Guidroz stated the elder Matthews, shocked and heartbroken after being informed his son was a primary suspect, organized for his son to depart the home and go to a location the place he was arrested with out incident.
Requested concerning the suspect being the son of his deputy, Guidroz stated: “That is robust. That ought to inform the nation that regardless of who you’re, there are penalties to the issues that you simply do.”
CNN’s Paul P. Murphy contributed to this report.