Convicted church arsonists ask for early release - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Convicted church arsonists ask for early release

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Bibb County District Attorney Michael Jackson. Source: Kelvin Reynolds/WBRC Bibb County District Attorney Michael Jackson. Source: Kelvin Reynolds/WBRC
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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

Two men who set fire to several churches want out of prison early. Attorneys for Matthew Cloyd and Benjamin Mosely were in court Thursday morning to ask a judge to release them before their sentences are up.

Mosely and Cloyd were convicted of setting fire to nine Alabama churches in 2006. Five of those fires were in Bibb County. Later, they set fire to four more churches in west Alabama to throw investigators off the trail.

Both men eventually plead guilty to state and federal charges. When their federal sentences ended last year, they started serving time in state prison.

Mosely said "hi" to Bibb County Sheirff Keith Hannah and nothing else as deputies led him into the courthouse on Thursday. Once inside, he read a letter to Circuit Judge Marvin Wiggins and others inside the court.

Mosley apologized to the churches he burned and the families he hurt.

But Bibb County District attorney Michael Jackson didn't buy it.

"His whole thing is a con. If you really want to take responsibility then you will serve the full amount of your time," Jackson said.

Jackson opposes any early release. An earlier hearing on the same matter was cancelled in August when the sides could not agree on a deal.

"These aren't nice young men. They burnt churches. That's one of the worst things you can do and I'm going to keep fighting to make sure they stay in prison," Jackson said today.

If they are not granted an early release, they will remain in state custody until 2017. A third church arsonist, Russell Debusk, who participated in the first five church arsons, was released early from prison last year.

Judge Wiggins took the request under advisement and could issue a ruling at a later time.

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