Black church burned in Cataula; two suspects charged

Two white men are charged with arson in connection with a Tuesday fire that damaged a predominantly black church in Cataula, Harris County Sheriff Mike Jolley said.

A fire ignited about 6:30 p.m. at Rehobeth Baptist Church and caused minor damage to the sanctuary on Preston Road, Jolley said.

The sheriff identified the suspects as Larry Hutto of Cataula and Cody Watson of Alabama. Each will face a charge of aggravated arson and held in the Harris County Jail.

“Our investigators went out last night and secured the scene and got fairly good evidence to show it was an arson, an aggravated arson,” Jolley said. “We went back out this morning and subsequently identified suspects that started the fire.”

Items taken from the church were found at the home of one suspect. Authorities were led to the suspects while canvassing the area and asking witnesses about people seen in the area at the time of the fire. “While we were canvassing the neighborhood, we asked if anyone was seen walking in the area wearing this and that,” the sheriff said.