NORFOLK, Va. – A North Carolina man pleaded guilty Wednesday to making a phone threat to burn down an African American church in Virginia Beach.
Court documents say 63-year-old John Malcolm Bareswill called a Virginia Beach church with a predominantly African American congregation, made racist remarks and threatened to set the church on fire.
Records say Bareswill made the threatening call on June 7, just a few days after one of the church’s leaders took part in a public prayer vigil and peaceful demonstration for George Floyd.
Bareswill pleaded guilty to criminal information charging a telephonic threat to use fire to kill, injure or intimidate any individual, or unlawfully to damage or destroy a building.
He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison when sentenced on November 12.