FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          CR
MONDAY, JULY 8, 1996                               (202) 616-2765
                                               TDD (202) 514-1888


     WASHINGTON, D.C. --  A federal court in Charleston today
unsealed a federal complaint and arrest warrant charging two
members of the Christian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan with burning
a predominantly African American church in Greeleyville, South
Carolina on June 20, 1995.  The investigation is being conducted by
the church arson task force formalized by President Clinton last
     Gary Christopher Cox, 23, and Timothy Adron Welch, 24, were
charged on May 10, with burning the Mt. Zion AME Church on June 20,
1995.  A criminal complaint, signed by U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert
S. Carr, of the U.S. District Court in Charleston, alleged that the
two violated a federal criminal arson statute.
     Cox and Welch, who face up to 20 years in prison if convicted,
were arrested on state charges in June 1995, and have been in jail
since that time.                                            Since
June 1, there have been fires at more than 50 churches across the
country.  Arrests have been made in connection with at least 9 of
these incidents, while 9 fires have been ruled accidental.
     The investigation includes the U.S. Attorneys Office in South
Carolina, the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the
Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, the South Carolina Law
Enforcement Division, the Clarendon County Fire Department and
Sheriff's Office.

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