Man convicted of burning African American church in Springfield denied early release

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Mayor Sarno is very happy the federal court system did not release Michael Jacques from prison.

Jacques and two other white men were sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison after a jury trial in 2011. He tried to shave three years off his sentence by requesting a compassionate release, but it was denied by the federal courts.

President Barack Obama has just been elected when the three men burned down the Macedonian Church of God in Christ. It was later deemed a hate crime. Mayor Sarno told 22News it was Bishop Bryan Robinson who helped maintained the peace after the horrible fire.

“Where was his compassion when he burned down that church which was race-based at the time? And he admitted it,” Sarno said. “This could have torn any city apart, but it didn’t.”

Mayor Sarno said that had a lot to do with Bishop Byran Robinson the pastor of the Macedonia Church of God in Christ. He credited Bishop Robinson’s calm leadership, and how he worked with the city and helped maintain the peace.

Jacques argued for his release saying he was at risk of developing diabetes. He’s serving out his sentence at the federal prison in Devens, Massachusetts.

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