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FRIDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2006
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EDITORIAL

Church-burning trio will get time to contemplate

Sometimes when dogs and cats are bored they become destructive, ripping into things without regard for their value.

Perhaps, boredom also is the only rational way to explain the arson spree to which three Birmingham college youths pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday.

Apparently bright students, two attended Birmingham-Southern College and the other was in pre-med at The University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Then, you might blame their second night of destroying churches on plain stupidity, but a federal agent said their motive was "thrill."

Matthew Cloyd, 21, and Benjamin Nathan Moseley and Russell Lee DeBusk, both 20, acknowledged setting fire to nine rural Alabama churches. Prosecutors said the trio set things in motion while illegally hunting and drinking on the night of Feb. 3 in Bibb County.

Then, Mr. Moseley and Mr. Cloyd got to thinking that Bibb County is so close to Birmingham that authorities might come looking for suspects there. So, the two traveled to counties near the Mississippi state line Feb. 7 and burned four more churches, hoping to confuse investigators.

Now, they face minimum sentences of seven years in federal prison and more time if the state prosecutes them.

Either way, they will get plenty of opportunity to deal with boredom and learn not to be so stupid.

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