John Malcolm Bareswill of North Carolina pleaded guilty on Wednesday to charges for making a phone threat to burn down a predominantly Black church in Virginia Beach, WTKR reports.
The original incident took place on June 7, a few days after one of the leaders of New Hope Baptist Chuch participated in a prayer vigil for and peaceful protest against the death of George Floyd.
At the time, an anonymous caller phoned the church at around 11 a.m. that Sunday stating “You n–gers need to shut your mouth. We are going to burn the church,” according to the Washington Post.
Law enforcement eventually traced the call to Bareswill, who was charged with the federal crime of making a telephonic threat to use fire to kill, injure or intimidate any individual, or unlawfully to damage or destroy a building.
Bareswill, 63, at first denied making the call, but phone records showed that the call was made from his phone and that someone had used the Internet to search “Black Lives Matter protest held in Virginia” as well as predominantly Black churches.
If convicted, according to WTKR, Bareswill faces up to 10 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 12.