Kansas City man sentenced for setting church fire because staff didn’t give him water

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City man will spend more than 5 years in federal prison for setting a metro church on fire after staff denied to give him water.

Christopher A. Durant, 39, was sentenced to 63 months behind bars and also ordered to pay $143,429 in restitution to the church, insurance company and building owner.

Durant pleaded guilty to the arson at Beyond Thee Four Walls Ministries in April 2021.

Firefighters were called to the church around 3:25 a.m. on Aug. 26, 2020. The building was on fire when they arrived.

According to court documents, church employees later identified Durant as the man who asked for water after the church closed on Aug. 15, 2020. Documents say Durant became angry when they would not give him the water.

Investigators said Durant was also caught on surveillance video throwing chunks of asphalt at the church. The video also showed Durant returning to light something on fire and placed it in the mail slot in the front door. He did the same thing with a piece of paper, according to court records. Investigators say Durant also threw an object on fire through a broken window.

Court documents show Durant left the church, but returned a short time later. Video shows Durant lighting a piece of paper on fire and placing it through the church’s front window. He then walked up to the front window, leaned inside, and video showed a large flash consistent with flammable liquid being poured into a flame.

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