Man pleads guilty to threatening to burn down African American church in Virginia Beach

Posted at 8:55 PM, Aug 05, 2020

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.

Related: Ministers, others hold protest through prayer at Mt. Trashmore in Virginia Beach

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.

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