SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — One of three white men accused of burning down a predominantly black church in western Massachusetts just hours after the election of Barack Obama has told a judge he played no role in setting the blaze.
Michael Jacques Jr. told a federal judge Thursday that investigators bullied him into confessing while he was going through drug withdrawal.
The Republican reports that Jacques and his lawyer are trying to get the confession thrown out as evidence.
Prosecutors say the confession was not coerced.
Authorities say the fire that destroyed Springfield’s Macedonia Church of God in Christ in the early morning hours of Nov. 5, 2008 was racially motivated. The church had about 300 members, most of whom were black.
Two other men have already pleaded guilty.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.