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Courts and Crime

Houlton man indicted for hate crimes related to arson of church in Massachusetts

A Maine man has been indicted for hate crimes related to arson of a predominantly black church in Massachusetts.

Forty-five-year-old Dushko Vulchev of Houlton was indicted by a federal grand jury in Springfield, Massachusetts, on four counts of damage to religious property involving fire and one count of use of fire to commit a federal felony.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, video surveillance helped identify Vulchev as the alleged suspect who set fire to the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Presbyterian Church three times in Dec. 2020.

The DOJ says a search of Vulchev's vehicle uncovered multiple electronic storage devices with messages and images that demonstrated his racial animus toward Black people.

If convicted, Vulchev could face decades in prison and a fine up to a quarter million dollars.

He was previously convicted in 2016 in Aroostook County Superior Court for assault and other charges after holding a woman captive for several hours.