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A judge has sentenced two men to life in prison after they pleaded guilty in a series of fires at churches in Smith County in East Texas last year.

Judge Christi Kennedy ordered the prison terms for 20-year-old Jason Robert Bourque and 22-year-old Daniel George McAllister on Jan. 10, 2011.

In December 2010, Bourque pleaded guilty to five counts of arson and three counts of attempted arson.

McAllister entered guilty pleas to two counts of arson and two counts of attempted arson.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says Bourque also was sentenced to 20 years for attempted arson, to be served consecutive to the life prison term.

McAllister received 20 years for attempted arson, to be served concurrently.

Charges are pending over fires in Van Zandt and Henderson counties.

The rash of church fires, 10 in all, began with a blaze at a church in Athens and another on New Year's Day 2010 not far away. A fire in the central Texas town of Temple followed, but the federal investigation did not kick in until two churches were torched Jan. 11, 2010, in Athens. Less than a week later, four fires in five days were reported.

Bourque and McAllister were arrested last February. Nobody was hurt in the 10 blazes.

Posted 10:45 AM

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