The Latest: Grand jury to hear Mississippi church burn case

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The Latest on a black Mississippi man accused of burning a black church and spray-painting "Vote Trump" on it (all times local):

2 p.m.

A Mississippi grand jury will decide whether to indict a black man who is charged with burning an African-American church that was also spray-painted with "Vote Trump."

A municipal judge on Thursday reduced Andrew McClinton's bond from $250,000 to $100,000 and sent the case to a grand jury. The 45-year-old McClinton chose not to appear in court for the preliminary hearing.

Authorities have not released a motive. McClinton was a member of Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church, which burned Nov. 1, a week before the presidential election.

McClinton has been jailed since Dec. 21 on a charge of first-degree arson of a place of worship. He had previously requested a public defender but is now represented by a private attorney, Daniel Morris.

Morris says outside court that McClinton is innocent. Morris says he expects McClinton to be released on bond.


5 a.m.

A court hearing is set for a Mississippi man charged in the burning of a black church that was spray-painted with "Vote Trump."

Andrew McClinton has been jailed under $250,000 bond since being arrested Dec. 21 and charged with first degree arson of a place of worship.

He's accused of setting fire to Hopewell Missionary Baptist church, where he was a member. The Greenville church was burned and vandalized a week before the presidential election.

During a preliminary hearing Thursday, a public defender could request a bond reduction. A municipal judge could hear evidence and decide whether to send the case to a grand jury.

McClinton, who lives in the Greenville suburb of Leland, spent several years in prison in Mississippi on convictions of armed robbery and other crimes.