SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A Maine man is now facing federal charges, including hate crime offenses, in connection to fires set at a predominately Black church in Springfield, Mass.
Dushko Vulchev, of Houlton, Maine, has been charged with four counts of damage to religious property involving fire and one count of use of fire to commit a federal felony.
According to court documents, the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Presbyterian Church was intentionally set on fire multiple times in December of last year, and a fire on Dec. 28 "essentially destroyed the building."
Fires were previously set on Dec. 13 and Dec. 15. Vulchev is also accused of slashing tires on church property.
Authorities said there is evidence Vulchev had a hatred of Black people, including electronic messages where he used a racial slur.
If convicted, Vulchev could face up to 20 years in prison for the charge of damage to religious property involving fire. He could also face an additional sentence of 10 years in prison for the charge of using fire to commit a federal felony.
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