A 26-year-old man has been convicted of breaking into a historic church in Independence and setting it ablaze.
A Jackson County Circuit Court found Jordan Smith of Independence guilty Wednesday of second-degree arson and second-degree burglary.Jurors recommended that Smith serve four years in prison on the arson charge and one year on the burglary charge. Sentencing was set for March 1.
Smith earlier testified that he torched the 88-year-old Church of Christ (Temple Lot) on New Year's Day in 1990 on an apparent directive from God.
He said his dreams the night before convinced him that God wished him to make a public point.
"At all times, I felt I was obeying a higher power," Smith said.
He said he used a cigarette lighter to ignite parts of the church.
Officials saved many church documents and artifacts, but the structure was destroyed.