Last Updated: Jan 8th, 2015 - 07:42:25

Former minister guilty of lying
By Staff Reports
Nov 26, 2013, 13:46

CHESTERFIELD A former music minister of a Petersburg church pleaded guilty to lying to a federal agent about faking a hate crime.

Olander Cuthrell accepted the plea deal Monday in federal court in Richmond in a case where he spray painting racist graffiti on his own home and set it on fire. He will not, however, get any extra prison time for the federal charge.

He is already serving a two-year sentence after pleading guilty to arson in Chesterfield Circuit Court.

On March 15, Olander D. Cuthrell poured a mixture of gasoline and oil on his front porch, as well as in an old family car in order to start the fires. During this crime, he also spray painted a racial slur onto the side of his house. Following these actions, Cuthrell went back inside his house and returned to his bed. While the fire spread, his wife and three of his sons slept inside the house.

Police were called to the scene in the 7800 block of Little Ridge Court in Midlothian around 4:15 a.m. and the fire was extinguished and no one was hurt.

In August, Chesterfield Judge T.J. Hauler sentenced Cuthrell to 10 years in prison, with eight suspended. Cuthrell will also have to pay for the damages involved with the property, which was a rental home.

In federal court on Monday, Cuthrell was sentenced to spend six months in prison but it will be served concurrently with his sentence by the Chesterfield court, so he will not get any extra time. He also agrees to pay a mandatory special assessment of $100.

The federal charge could have carried a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 in addition to the $100 fee.

According to a statement of facts in the federal case, Cuthrell lied to an FBI agent on March 21, 2013, saying he did not know who vandalized his home and set it on fire. The FBI began a civil rights investigation based on these denials.

Following interviews revealed that Cuthrell was behind on his rent payments at his residence and had previously been convicted of making a false report regarding a robbery in North Carolina in 2001, the court documents say.

On March 27, 2013, during an interview with FBI agents, Cuthrell admitted to having set the fires and spray painting the racial epithets.

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