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SPRINGFIELD, Massachusetts (AP) -- A second white man pleaded guilty to setting a fire that destroyed a predominantly black Massachusetts church hours after Barack Obama was elected president.
Thomas Gleason Jr. changed his plea in U.S. District Court on Tuesday, two days before he was scheduled to go to trial. Gleason pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy against civil rights; damage or destruction to religious property; and the use of fire to commit a felony.
Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 1.
Gleason, 22, was one of three white men charged with burning down the Macedonia Church of God on Nov. 5, 2008, the day after Obama was elected the nation's first black president.
Last week, co-defendant Benjamin Haskell, 23, pleaded guilty in a deal that calls for him to spend nine years in prison. No date has been set yet for the trial of the third defendant, Michael Jacques, 25, of Springfield.
Prosecutors said the three men were angry about Obama's election and decided to retaliate by burning the church, which has about 300 members, most of whom are black.