Just a week before Christmas, a white family in Denton, Texas, thought they were the victims of a racially motivated arson attack at their home. That wasn’t exactly the case, however, as the family father eventually confessed to pulling off the hateful hoax himself.
Denton fire authorities announced on Thursday, Dec. 22, that resident David Williams, 35, had confessed to setting his truck on fire and spray-painting the words “N–gger lovers” on his garage door.
Williams initially told authorities the vandalism was likely the doing of a few “punk kids.” Now, the father of four is staying in a mental health hospital in Arlington and will likely be arrested and charged with arson upon his release, according to fire department spokesman Kenneth Hedges.
“He will be charged at a minimum with arson, and investigators are working with the district attorney on possible other charges,” Hedges said.
Prior to Williams’ shocking admission, the Denton Record-Chronicle reported that a family friend had launched a GoFundMe page to help the family cover the cost of their damaged pick-up truck. The page quickly garnered over $5,000 in contributions, but Williams’ wife, Jenny Williams, said she was unaware her husband was the one behind the heinous attack prior to the page being set up.
The family friend, identified as Ashlee Lynch, David Williams’ sister, has since begun getting in touch with donors to refund them their money, according to the newspaper.
“If any of the donors would like the funds back, please let me know,” Lynch wrote on the crowdfundng page after her brother’s confession was made public. “If you have already contacted me, I have [yours] handled already. Thank y’all so much. Again, I am sorry about the latest news and I am working on the returns. Thank you and God bless each and every one of y’all…”
Jenny Williams announced that many of the donors have already begun receiving their refunded contributions, not including the crowdfunding site’s 8 percent processing fee.
“There are so many things that are up in the air and I just don’t know where to begin,” she said last week. “But I know I have four kids who need a parent, and I have to do what’s right.”
The Williams family woke up in the wee hours of Dec. 12 to find Denton firefighters in their driveway and were informed that their pick-up truck had been set ablaze. A week later, arson investigators informed Williams they were investigating him directly as a suspect in the crime. The Texas man confessed to the act the very next day, according to Hedges.
Jenny Williams acknowledged her husband suffers from bipolar disorder and was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder in 2012, but she couldn’t undestand how he could have slipped out of the house to set their truck on fire and vandalize their home without her knowing.
“He [confessed] Tuesday morning, and that entire conversation, I just don’t even know how to wrap my head around it all,” she said. “It was clear to me, at that point, that his head was definitely not in the right place.”
Fire officials said Williams’ mental health conditions have not been considered in determining the scope of criminal charges he could face.
Williams’ crime is the latest in a string of fake incidents involving race-based vandalism. Fusion reported that, earlier this month, a New York firefighter was charged with setting his own home on fire, spraying anti-police messages on his property and then placing the blame on supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement. The year prior, a Fort Worth man claimed his truck had been vandalized with BLM slogans. He was later charged with filing false police report.
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