TYLER, TX (KLTV) - It's a major development on the East Texas church fires. The two men accused of setting several churches on fire were formally charged Tuesday afternoon. This comes two weeks after the Smith County Grand Jury heard evidence against Jason Bourque and Daniel McAlister.
As the news of the indictments became public, church members said these charges bring them one step closer to closure.
Members of Dover Baptist Church heard the news for the first time Tuesday evening. Two men have been charged for fire that destroyed their church in February. The news left them with mixed emotions. " It makes me feel good in a way and then sad in another way. The good part is that they actually stopped burning the rest of the churches... The sadness is them not knowing what they did. It destroyed so many other people and their hearts," said Albert Valadez, a member of Dover Baptist Church.
Jason Bourque, 20, has been indicted by the Smith County Grand Jury on five counts of arson. This covers fires at Tyland Baptist Church, First Church of Christ, Scientist, Prairie Creek Fellowship Church, Dover Baptist Church, and Clear Spring Missionary Baptist Church. Bourque was also charged with three counts of attempted arson.
Daniel McAllister, 22, was charged with two counts of arson and two counts of attempted arson.
"I think this was just the whole work of Satan that got hold of them and made them do something like this," said Valadez.
While some say this is one step closer to the end, Anthony Friend, a member of Clear Spring Missionary Baptist Church is still waiting for justice. "Closure is going to be when they send them down there to TDCJ."
No matter the reaction, all churches are moving forward "We have broken ground. We have our concrete slab and starting tomorrow at 8:30 we have our steel coming to be erected," said Valadez. Friend added, "We said within five to six weeks we will be in our church." They're making the most of what's to come.
Both McAllister and Bourque are still being held in the Smith County Jail on 10-million dollar bonds.