A 55-year-old man was accused of writing alarming emails to pastor of a Texas church about harming Democrats and setting priests on fire

  • A 55-year-old man is facing a terroristic threat charge after he was accused of sending alarming emails with “racial, political and religious themes” to a pastor at a Texas church, the San Antonio Express-News reported, citing an arrest affidavit.
  • William Edward Bender was arrested on Wednesday and held on $US15,000 bail, the San Antonio Express-News reported.
  • “You want priests getting covered in gasoline, and set on fire? Because this is how you get priest covered in gasoline, and set on fire,” one email received by the church in November said, according to court records reported by San Antonio’s WOAI-TV.
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A 55-year-old man was charged with terroristic threat after a local church and its pastor accused him of sending numerous alarming emails to a church in San Antonio, Texas, according to local reports.

William Edward Bender was arrested after a pastor at The Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit told local police Bender, a former parishioner of the church, had sent emails with violent and threatening comments for months, San Antonio Express-News reported.

The emails, which have been sent to church officials since June, included “racial, political and religious themes,” the Express-News reported, citing an affidavit.

Local news station WOAI-TV reported that the church has been receiving the messages since June, but did not inform police about the emails until November. In one email sent on November 8, Bender wrote to a third party, saying “I’m going to let those Democrats live for a while longer,” WOAI-TV reported, citing the arrest affidavit.

In a November 12 email that WOAI-TV reported included a link to news of Pope Francis recognising President-elect Joe Biden’s win, an arrest affidavit said Bender wrote: “You want priests getting covered in gasoline, and set on fire? Because this is how you get priest covered in gasoline, and set on fire.”

Church officials told Bender that he is restricted from attending the church or going on its property, according to the news station, WOAI-TV reported. In addition to the ban, the Express-News reported the church is taking Bender’s threats seriously by taking safety precautions like beefing up security and not allowing children to be present at services.

Bender was taken into police custody on Wednesday on $US15,000 bail, according to the San-Antonio Express-News.

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