Nov. 02--CHESTERFIELD -- A Petersburg minister was sentenced Thursday to two years for felony arson, in an attempt to stage a fake hate crime. The man set his front porch and car on fire, and painted racist graffiti on his house.
Judge T.J. Hauler of Chesterfield County Circuit Court sentenced Olander D. Cuthrell, 41, to serve two years in prison. He was sentenced to 10 years with eight years suspended. State sentencing guidelines called for a punishment of between 11 months and two years, seven months.
Cuthrell was a minister of music at Good Shepherd Baptist Church in Petersburg.
At about 4:30 a.m. on March 15, police were called to Cuthrell's residence where it was reported that a 1992 BMW and a porch were on fire. Police also found a racial slur painted on the side of the house. Both fires were extinguished and no one was injured.
Cuthrell and his family rented the home in the 7800 block of Little Ridge Court.
Due to the allegations of civil rights violations, specifically claims of a hate crime, the FBI assisted the Chesterfield County Police Department in its investigation.
Police Lt. Steve Grohowski said previously that Cuthrell, "became the focus of the investigation around March 25 or 28."
The minister was arrested on April 2. Police also found that Cuthrell had financial problems before the fire.
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