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Teen Charged With Setting Church on Fire

Posted April 27, 2007

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— A Johnston County teen was charged Friday with setting fire to a church last weekend, authorities said.

Alvin Lee Parrish, 17, has been charged with arson in connection with a Sunday morning fire at Whitley Memorial United Methodist Church, authorities said. He is being held in the Johnston County Detention Center on a $140,000 bond.

Smithfield police discovered the fire while investigating a break-in at a nearby business.

Parrish was arrested Sunday and charged with breaking into a convenience store and stealing three cases of beer.

Officials said they believe the church's main sanctuary is damaged beyond repair. Church members said they hope they can hold service in a smaller sanctuary on the property.


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  • JustDontUnderstandPpl Apr 28, 2007

    At 17, this "kid" knew right from wrong. Maybe he had problems, however I am sick and tired of the excuses. "I have had a bad childhood...", "The drugs made me do it...", "Other kids always pick on me", blah, blah, blah. I don't care why you did it, stand up and take responsibility for it. Show me that you are trying to repay.

  • wondermom67 Apr 28, 2007

    This is what happens when parents stop being parents because they don't have time, or they do not want to be bothered, and your child ends up raising himor herself. The begin looking for attention.....gues what, they got it, but it is ruining their life. So parents be more pro-active in your kids life, give them rules to live by, because we as adults have rules to live by everyday or we get caught, then we are repremanded, by either being fired, or going to jail, etc. If you care the least little bit...you will set boundaries and rules for them to abide by in your home, if you do this, you will end up with a pretty successful kid as and adult. But you have to really love them and want the best for them to set rules and ENFORCE them.

  • trytoberational Apr 27, 2007

    I wonder if the others that were mentioned pointed the finger to him and that is how the police came to the conclusion ?

    Either way I hope they have not given up on other suspects and continue to investigate

    I hope this kid is not protecting others an really knows what he is facing

  • CherryDarling Apr 27, 2007

    The parents should have to answer for this, too...

    It's ridiculous, how parents just let their kids run wild. I came home at 9:30 and there were kids from my son's school (12 - 14 yrs old) outside hanging out...

    Again ... ridiculous.

  • mindyourown Apr 27, 2007

    "You Must Be Joking" - couldn't have said it better myself! We all have choices don't we? Guess he needs someone else to make those choices for him and they will!

  • ckat Apr 27, 2007

    deedeedee, benson, try- I gathered from your previous post that you live in the immediate area or have family that live in this immediate area. As being a concerned citizen, I want to let you know that a home in this area was vandilized earlier this week, and the "3" that others referred too in previous posts were witnessed running away. IN MY OPINION- they seem to be getting away with a lot in this neighborhood- and I THINK it will continue until the community start to do somthing about it.
    The police said sure they were running away but no one saw them do the vandelizing? HMMMM... wasn't Lee seen running away from the church?????? but who saw him start the fire???? We do think that anyone that who commits a crime should be punished but where is fair justice.

  • Tired Of Excuses Apr 27, 2007

    He was 17! He may have not have had the best parenting but come on. He knew better than to do what he did and should get what he deserves. His life is screwed and all because of a bad choice. Too bad. Let this be a lesson to all little punks out there who think they can do whatever they want and get a way with it.

  • thepeopleschamp Apr 27, 2007

    Hey Rebel, in NC 17 is considered an adult for criminal prosecution purposes. If he were a juvenile the max restitution he could pay would be only $500.00. And there are some politicians in NC that want to make 18 the adult age so all these young offenders can get out of penalties easier. As it is now with him being 17 the judge has some say so, but not if some wrong headed politicians get their way.

  • kwik Apr 27, 2007

    I think he has reached "rock bottom". Burning down the Lord's house has got to be one of the worst. If he already had robbed it, then why did he have to burn it up. Lord forgive him.

  • Rebel Apr 27, 2007

    Since he's a minor, maybe his parents can be forced to make a substantial payment to the church as a fine for not keeping him at home and teaching him to behave like a human being!