Indianapolis - A man who described himself as a devil worshipper was sentenced to more than 42 years in prison Tuesday for setting fire to churches in eight states.
Jay Ballinger, 38, of Yorktown, Indiana, had pleaded guilty earlier this year to 29 arson charges involving fires that dated back to 1994. He was sentenced by Judge Sarah Barker of the U.S. District Court who also ordered that profits Ballinger might make from selling his story in the future be given to his victims as restitution.
According to records filed by police and prosecutors, Ballinger ran a devil-worshipping cult which recruited young people.
The fires for which he was blamed were among those that prompted the U.S. government to form a task force to counteract church burnings, which had become a particular problem in the South duirng the past decade.