Church Fire Suspects Decline to Post Bond

Three college students accused in a string of rural Alabama church fires will not seek release on bond on the federal charges, their attorneys said.

A federal magistrate judge said Thursday the three men could be released on $50,000 bond, in cash or property, with strict conditions. But Matthew Lee Cloyd, Benjamin Moseley, and Russell DeBusk Jr. also face state arson charges, and would remain jailed while a state judge considered setting bond.

Moseley's attorney, Bill Clark, said his client had no plans to make the federal bond in recognition of the seriousness of the church fires and in an effort to promote healing.

"Ben Moseley is concerned for the members of the churches involved, the people in those communities and the injured firefighters," Clark said Saturday in a statement. "It is hoped that this decision will help us move forward with efforts to resolve all of these matters in a way that will result in reconciliation and restoration."

Attorneys for Cloyd and DeBusk confirmed their clients also would not seek to be released on bond. All three suspects remained in federal custody at the Shelby County Jail.

They were arrested March 8 on federal charges of conspiracy and setting fire to Ashby Baptist Church in Brierfield, in Bibb County. A federal grand jury will hear the charges later this month.

The state arrest warrants charge Cloyd, 20, Moseley, 19, and DeBusk, 19, with arson in Bibb County, where five fires occurred Feb. 3. A second set of fires, on Feb. 7, destroyed four churches in Pickens, Sumter and Greene counties.