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2 church arson suspects arraigned

By Layron Livingston - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Monday, two East Texas men stood before a judge, accused of burning down one East Texas church. Jason Bourque and Daniel McAllister were both arraigned on arson charges for burning down Dover Baptist Church near Lindale.

But, are authorities any closer to linking the two men to all 10 church fires? Sgt. Brent Davis with the Texas Rangers says investigators now have enough evidence to add additional charges - connected to the other church fires.

According to the arrest affidavits, it appears one of the crucial links to catching the men was right under investigators' feet.

February 8th, before the two allegedly set fire to Dover Baptist Church, they had to get inside. Investigators say the back door of the church was kicked in.

"There's a Sketchers shoe print that's at several locations, and also a Red Wing boot print," said Sgt. Davis.

The arrest report says an "inspection of the door revealed a previously identified Red Wing boot." Similar boot prints were found at churches in Henderson, Smith, and Van Zandt Counties. The report goes on to say a Sketchers footprint had also been discovered at the sites of other church fires.

Sgt. Davis says investigators received some information about two weeks ago, turning their attention toward Jason Bourque and Daniel McAllister.

"We definitely had them under good surveillance," said Sgt. Davis.

Acting on a tip, authorities headed to Bourque's home in Lindale just three days after Dover and Clear Spring burned to ground.

Bourque agreed to talk with agents and they checked his car - a blue Ford Focus. Witnesses reported seeing a dark blue car near Dover before the fire. Investigators also observed "a muddy pair of Sketchers shoes inside Bourque's garage."

"We don't believe there's anyone else actually involved in starting the fires other than these two individuals," said Sgt. Davis.

The two sat quietly in court, Monday morning. McAllister stood before the judge, first.

"Are you telling the court that you don't have enough money to hire a lawyer?" asked the judge.

"I don't have any money," McAllister replied.

"And, you don't have any family that could assist you in hiring a lawyer?" said the judge.

"They all hate me," McAllister replied.

According to the report, it was one of McAllister's family members who told investigators the 21-year-old wears a size "13 or 14" shoe.

They presented a Red Wing boot to the family member who identified the sole of the boot as the sole of McAllister's boot.

The Texas Rangers say that same family member drove McAllister to the Greyhound station in Dallas where he bought a one-way ticket to San Antonio two days after the latest two fires.

McAllister was appointed an attorney, Monday morning, and Jason Bourque's family hired an attorney this weekend. The D.A.'s office has also signed a protective order, and could not comment on the case.

You can read the arrest affidavits and search warrants to learn more.

Previous stories:
Churches react to arson arrests
Arson suspects grew up in the church
DPS: East Texans can rest easier after church arsons arrests
What should response to arsonist be? Church leaders respond
Church arsons plague East Texas, many coping with uncertainty
How to help East Texas church fire victims
Wills Point church fire ruled arson
EXCLUSIVE: Pastor describes first walk through church ashes
ATF looking for 3 persons of interest in church arsons
Church holds worship outside burned sanctuary
Monday's church break-ins may be related to fires
Lindale church still standing thanks to alert citizens
UPDATE: 7 church fires in 3 weeks being investigated
The science of arson
Map of East Texas Church Fires
2 churches burn in Athens overnight, arson being investigated
A Better East Texas: Church Fires
The mind of an arsonist

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