BOSTON — Thomas Gleason, 24, was sentenced Jan. 18 in federal court for his role in the arson at the predominantly African-American Macedonia Church of God in Christ just hours after the election of President Barack Obama.
The Justice Department reported that Gleason was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Michael A. Ponsor to 54 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. Gleason was also ordered to pay more than $1.7 million in restitution, including $123,570 to the Macedonia Church of God in Christ.
According to the report, Gleason pleaded guilty in June 2010 to conspiracy against civil rights, damage or destruction of religious property and use of fire to commit a felony.
Gleason’s co-conspirators Benjamin Haskell and Michael Jacques were previously sentenced to nine years in prison and 14 years in prison, respectively, the report said.
Evidence presented in court indicated that in the early morning hours of Nov. 5, 2008, within hours of Obama being elected, Gleason and his co-conspirators burned down the church’s new building which was then about 75 percent completed.
The fire destroyed nearly the entire structure, leaving only the metal superstructure and a small portion of the front.