Colorado Man Sentenced To 39 Months For Church Arson

A 22-year-old individual from Colorado was given only a 39-month prison sentence for perpetrating a hate crime connected to a deliberate fire he ignited at a church in Loveland, Colorado, on January 19, 2023. Darion Ray Sexton pleaded guilty to the federal hate crime charge on May 5, 2023.

As per the Justice Department, Darion Ray Sexton openly acknowledged setting fire to the church intentionally on January 19.

FBI Special Agent Mark D. Michaelk said, “This defendant admitted he set out to destroy this church, which was determined to be a federal hate crime. FBI Denver worked with the Loveland Police Department to bring this man to justice. Anyone who attacks a house of worship will get the full attention of the FBI. In addition to seeking justice for these crimes, the FBI remains committed to providing resources for potential victims, such as the event with faith leaders held in this county the day before the crime occurred.”

ATF agent Brent Beavers commented, “Arson is not only destructive and deadly, but also undermines the sense of safety within places of worship. We immediately committed all ATF resources to addressing the impact of this arson by deploying our certified fire investigator, an ATF Task Force Officer with their ATF-trained accelerant detection canine, and ATF Laboratory services to analyze fire debris and evidence. Early and continued collaboration with our local and federal partners ensured justice once again prevailed.”

Sexton, in a plea of guilt, confessed to deliberately igniting the church during the evening hours of January 19, 2023. He disclosed that he carried out this act by deploying two Molotov cocktails, targeting one at the church’s front door and the other at its basement. Sexton explicitly stated that his motivation for starting the fire was rooted in the religious beliefs of the church.

The investigation into this incident was jointly conducted by the FBI, ATF, and the Loveland Police and Fire Departments.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan D. Fields for the District of Colorado and Trial Attorney Maura White of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.