Man who burned black housemate alive cites "the Bible is for white people" only
A Tennessee man allegedly wrote a jailhouse letter to a white supremacist group admitting he burned a black man alive — and cited the Bible as one of his influences
Earlier this year in March, John Daniel Carothers, 53, reportedly killed one person after he set fire to a VA Living facility in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Investigators charged Carothers, who lived in the same building, with first-degree murder in addition to charges of reckless endangerment and aggravated arson. According to authorities, they were able to contain the fire in one room because Carothers wanted to kill Robert Miller, an African-American, inside the room.
Furthermore, Carothers “poured an accelerant on the victim and ignited it", according to District Attorney Jennings Jones. But recent developments have made the story worse.
According to investigators, Carothers wrote a letter from his prison cell to a white supremacist group, which they intercepted. The contents of the letter indicate that the suspect admitted to his guilt, confessing he committed the act because "the Bible is about white people and for white people".
The sheriff's department found Carothers's apparent confession letter in the outgoing mail, enabling prosecutors to use the same to up the charges against him using a hate crime "enhancement," reported Raw Story.
The handwritten letter, which was intercepted at the prison facility by the sheriff's office, read in part as follows:
“To my brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, our savior and Lord. My name is John D. Carothers and I believe the Bible is about white people and for white people. I am in Rutherford County jail for burning a black man. I set him on fire with lighter fluid poured on his head."
ARREST Made in N. Maple St. Fire in #Murfreesboro: On Monday, the fire department told #WGNS, the #Murfreesboro Police Department has charged 51 year old John Daniel Carothers (2/10/1966) with attempted first degree murder... https://t.co/gTeClto5Hu pic.twitter.com/FptCBbY0lW— WGNSRadio.com (@WGNSRadio) March 19, 2018
Having said that, the cook who worked at the apartment claimed she never saw Carothers exhibiting racism towards anyone. She also stated that before Miller succumbed to his injuries, he told her that the two had had an altercation "back in the day" - but the duo was sharing the home for only three months.
Authorities have now deemed Carothers mentally competent to stand trial. Prosecutors may try to use the letter to claim that this was a hate crime if he is found guilty, and could argue for a longer sentence.
Tennessee does not have a specific hate crime statute, according to Nashville's WTVF. However, if the US Department of Justice intervenes in the case, it could result in federal hate crime charges for Carothers.
The report, however, did not specify which white supremacy outfit Carothers' letter was addressed to.