Convicted church arsonists seek early release - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Convicted church arsonists seek early release

File video of Matthew Cloyd and Benjamin Mosely. Source: WBRC video File video of Matthew Cloyd and Benjamin Mosely. Source: WBRC video

Even after a hearing Monday morning, it is still not clear if two convicted church arsonists will be released early.

Matthew Cloyd and Benjamin Mosley are former students at Birmingham-Southern College who were convicted in a string of church fires committed in 2006.

Matthew Cloyd was one of three college students charged in a string of rural church fires. Cloyd has completed a federal sentence and is currently serving a two year state sentence. His attorney says Cloyd has been a model inmate and deserves a reduction in sentence.

Bibb County District Attorney Michael Jackson believes that attorneys representing the men are laying the groundwork to get them released years earlier than expected.

"We think they should serve their full amount of time in prison," Jackson said. "There's not way we're going to agree to them sitting at home watching television."

The men, along with Russell DeBusk, also admitted to killing several cows around the same time. Lindy Helton's daughter owned one of those animals. She came to court Monday to testify against the men's release.

"They did so much damage, from the churches and our cows weren't the only ones killed," Helton said.

Jackson claims the men's attorneys want them out of prison and in a form of community correction that may include house arrest and community service. He says that's not severe enough.

"They knew what the sentence was going to be. That's what they agreed to. They shouldn't be trying to change it now because they don't like state prison," Jackson said.

Officials say the early release hearing will resume Oct. 3. The Alabama Department of Corrections says that unless Bibb County Circuit Judge Marvin Wiggins grants the men an early release, they will remain in prison until 2017.

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