Last 2 plead not guilty in Tacoma church day care arson

Staff writerNovember 21, 2013 

The last two of six suspects charged in connection with an arson at a Tacoma church day care last year have pleaded not guilty.

Alvin Lee, 26, is charged with first-degree arson, attempted first-degree arson, theft of a vehicle, second-degree conspiracy to commit arson, and conspiracy to commit theft of a motor vehicle. Pierce County Commissioner Meagan Foley set his bail at $100,000.

Eugene Henderson, 27, pleaded not guilty to the same charges Oct. 31, and posted $100,000 bail Nov. 1.

Both are accused of playing a part in the May 2, 2012, incident at the Church of God in Christ on Pacific Avenue. Prosecutors say several small fires were set in the church day care, and a stolen van was rammed into the building.

Some defendants have told police it was part of an insurance scam, but authorities have declined to give details.

According to prosecutors, Lee and Henderson came to Chase’s house about an hour after the others tried to torch the van, and gave Knapp-Patterson between $200 and $300, saying, “Thanks a lot for the job.”

Prosecutors say all defendants have a criminal history.

Kenneth Baines Jr., 24; Darcy Chase, 30; Jonathan Hazel, 26; and Mitchell Knapp-Patterson, 21, have pleaded not guilty to similar charges in connection to the incident.

Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268

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