In January 2010, in the heart of the “Bible Belt” of Texas, 10 churches burned to the ground in a month, leading to the largest criminal investigation in East Texas history.
The documentary “Little Hope Was Arson” depicts the tragedy as it unfolded.
The documentary was directed by Theo Love, and shows the story from the perspective of the families whose sons burned the churches; 21-year-old Jason Robert Bourque, former TJC student and 23-year-old Daniel George. Both Bourque and George were sentenced to life for their crimes.
The film is generating much talk around the area, as the arsons left an everlasting impression to the religious pillars of Smith and Van Zandt counties.
John Dike, an acquaintance of Jason Robert Bourque, shared his feelings about the film releasing nationwide.
“It was something completely surprising to a small town … To see a movie about it. I don’t know. It’s still just a shock to everyone … When you think about it today,” said Dike.
The documentary also shows the counties response and efforts to the church burnings.
Many people camped out at churches waiting for the arsonists to show up.
“I remember pulling into churches. They’d have at least one or two cars, just to make sure, driving around or parked. People waiting inside and just … Waiting for something to happen … ”said Dike.
The ultimate feel of the documentary depicts the emotional and spiritual toll that the arsonists took from the area. The churches that stood in the Texas County to represent an important part of southern culture.
“You gotta have something just wrong with you to do something that of a heinous crime.” said Dike. “It was just so shocking to see something like that here in this part of the world where everything is Christianity.”
Little Hope Was Arson is scheduled to release nationwide on October 25. For more information on the documentary see littlehopewasarson.com.