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Pastor Accused in Texas Church Fire

November 8, 1999

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (AP) _ A minister and three other people were accused of burning down a church in 1996 to collect $270,000 in insurance.

The Rev. Theophilus Thompson, pastor of the Full Gospel Power House Church of God in Christ, was free today after posting a $150,000 bond. The other three suspects, Wilma Monday, Dusty Dean Williams and Christopher Charles Johnson, did not immediately post bonds and were being held at the Wichita County Jail.

The arrests Sunday night came less than two weeks before a statute of limitations on the case expired. Wichita Falls Fire Chief Ronnie James confirmed the arrests but declined to give details.

Thompson’s telephone number was unlisted, and he could not immediately be reached.

When the blaze was set on Nov. 20, 1996, more than 100 predominantly black churches _ mainly in the South _ had been burned in less than two years.

Thompson formed the predominantly black congretation in 1960. Ms. Monday and her husband, James, purchased the church building in 1993 from the Methodist Church, and as part of the purchase agreement, took out an insurance policy for $270,000.

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