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Monday, May 22, 2006

Lesson Learned: Don't Burn Down Your Own Church

MatchFrom the "For What it's Worth" file... Pastor Roger Marcus learned the hard way not to burn down the church to try to get the insurance money.  Chalk up one to learning a touch lesson:  Roger will be spending the next ten years in jail.  I wonder if making Commandment #11 "Do not hire a homeless man to burn down your church for the insurance money" would've helped any in this situation.  It seems something just aren't clear from scripture.  (This however, isn't one of them!)  The article:

[Chron.com by Peggy O'Hare]  A pastor who recruited a homeless man to burn his east Harris County church apologized to his family and a judge Friday before being formally sentenced to prison.

After four hours of deliberations, a jury agreed that Roger Marcus should be sentenced to 10 years for insurance fraud and seven years for arson for a fire that gutted his Blessed Again Ministries Church and its thrift store last year. The sentences will run concurrently.

Marcus, 55, of Baytown, also must pay fines totaling $20,000. Local authorities also will ask the state parole board to require him to pay $300,000 in restitution to other business owners who lost their savings as a result of the fire if he is granted parole.

Before being sentenced, Marcus told state District Judge Caprice Cosper that he does not understand the faulty decisions he has made at times.

"My wife and my family have suffered," he said. "This is not the first time I have brought harm and hurt to my family. I am not pleading insanity ... I apologize, and I ask you to help me."

Attorneys on both sides said Marcus had become financially desperate in the weeks before the fire. Within 10 days of the blaze, he admitted his role, saying he "just wanted the stress to stop." He later recanted, however, saying he had felt pressured by investigators.

The two-alarm fire in the 14100 block of the East Freeway on April 19, 2005, caused more than $1 million in damage, the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office said. No one was hurt.

The fire gutted not only the church and thrift store, but several other businesses in the shopping center, including a pain clinic and a pharmacy. One man who had a lease-purchase option on the building estimated he lost more than $400,000.

A homeless man who frequented the thrift store, Quinton Fontenette, 28, later revealed that Marcus had offered him some used tools and a nominal sum of cash to burn the building. Fontenette, who has pleaded guilty to arson and is awaiting sentencing, testified against Marcus.

Read the rest of the article here...

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May 22, 2006 in For What It's Worth | Permalink

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I say this church should hire the congregation that beat up (laid hands on) the theif breaking into their church in Florida.

Posted by: eric | May 22, 2006 4:16:10 PM

I wonder if his sermon before the arson was titled, "It's All Gonna Burn"!

Posted by: Randy Ehle | May 22, 2006 6:14:16 PM

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