Vacaville Pastor Accused Of Arson, Domestic Violence, To Appear In Court Tuesday
VACAVILLE, Calif. (CBS13/AP) — A Northern California pastor arrested on suspicion of firebombing his ex-girlfriend’s house with six people inside will be arraigned Tuesday. He says he had nothing to do with the attack.
The three other suspects arrested in the case have falsely accused him of being involved, Mark Lewis, pastor of the Fellowship Baptist Church in Vacaville, told CBS13 over the weekend.
Tuesday hearing is related to the restraining order filed by his ex-girlfriend.
“Well, yeah, that’s what the gentlemen did the other day — the two guys and a girl,” said Lewis. “It’s easy to put it on me, to pin it on me if someone is putting the finger there. And of course, I think the police have an agenda also.”
Lewis, 39, was arrested on suspicion of arson of an inhabited dwelling, conspiracy and stalking on Friday, a day after a Molotov cocktail was thrown through his ex-girlfriend’s window.
No one was hurt during the firebombing, although police said six people, including three children, were sleeping in the home at the time.
Lewis’ ex-girlfriend, Sarah Nottingham, said she has been terrorized by Lewis since their breakup.
She says, ever since their breakup last year, Lewis has been trying to hurt her and her family. Nottingham says she has an active restraining order against the pastor for vandalizing her car and setting fire to her bushes.
Lewis has been named as a suspect in four other cases of harassment and vandalism against Nottingham, including a fire in bushes in front of her home, according to police. She had taken out a restraining order against him.
Three other people — Anthony Newbolt, 33, and Richerd Wright, 28, both of Sacramento, and Kristen Broyles, 30, of Citrus Heights — have been charged in the case. They pleaded not guilty on Monday to felony charges of arson of an inhabited structure and possession of flammable or explosive material, according to The Reporter.
Police said a patrol officer responding to the firebombing early Thursday morning spotted a rental car in the area with the three suspects inside. Newbolt and Broyles allegedly told investigators they were homeless and had been staying at the church.
A subsequent search of Lewis’ home at the church turned up an illegal handgun, suspected methamphetamine and evidence linking Lewis to the firebombing, police said.
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Redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)