LA Fire Marshal: Ex church member confesses to Vivian church fir - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

LA Fire Marshal: Ex church member confesses to Vivian church fire

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ARRESTED: William Robert Sexton, 25. (Source: Caddo Correctional Center) ARRESTED: William Robert Sexton, 25. (Source: Caddo Correctional Center)
VIVIAN, LA (KSLA) -

State Fire Marshal Investigators say a man has confessed to setting a fire at the Vivian United Pentecostal Church in April.

Authorities say William Sexton, 25, of Oil City, is now behind bars after he confessed to starting the blaze that destroyed the church's sanctuary on April 23. He is charged with aggravated arson for "setting fire to a structure and knowingly endangering human life."

The fire began early on April 23 at the church at 900 Pecan Street. State investigators joined local authorities as well as federal BATF agents in an investigation.

Sexton, a former church member, emerged as a suspect early in the investigation, authorities say, because he had been involved in an ongoing dispute with the pastor of the church.

Authorities say Sexton cooperated with them at first, having "readily provided statements as to his whereabouts on the morning of the fire." He also denied involvement in setting the fire.

But investigators say they used telephone records, video surveillance, and witness statements in their investigation. This information led them to believe that their suspect had been "less than truthful."

After confronting their suspect with their investigative results, authorities say Sexton eventually provided a full confession, citing his anger toward the church's pastor as his motivation.

The endangering human life charge is the result of three people -- a traveling evangelist, his wife and their 18-month-old child -- occupying a wing of the church during the fire. Authorities say Sexton admitted to knowing that the three were sleeping in the facility when he set the fire.

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