Criminal Justice News

Friday, February 17, 2017

Idaho Man Charged in Church Arson Case

Shane Rucker, 33, of Bonners Ferry, Idaho, was arrested today in Bonners Ferry on a two-count federal indictment in the District of Idaho charging him with destruction of religious property and using a fire to damage or destroy religious property.  A federal grand jury sitting in Boise returned the indictment on Feb. 15, 2017.  Rucker will make his initial appearance on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017 at the federal courthouse in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

According to allegations in the indictment, on April 21, 2016, Rucker set fire to St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, because of the religious character of the property, in violation of the Church Arson Prevention Act.  The Church was completely destroyed as a result of the fire.

An indictment is a means of charging a person with criminal activity.  It is not evidence.  The person is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

If convicted of destroying the church because of its religious character Rucker faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.  Using a fire to destroy the church carries a mandatory 10-year sentence that must run consecutive to any other sentence.

The case is being investigated by the Bonners Ferry Police Department, the Idaho State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Boundary County Sheriff’s Office Fire Investigation Team, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The case is being prosecuted by U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson and Assistant U.S. Attorney Traci Whelan of the District of Idaho and Trial Attorney Angie Cha of the Civil Rights Division.

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