CRIME

Man Accused Of Torching Islamic Center Allegedly Said 'They Got What They Deserved'

02/18/2015 12:32 pm ET | Updated Feb 18, 2015

A homeless Texas man accused of setting fire to an Islamic center in Houston may have done so because he "hated Muslims."

At a probable cause hearing on Tuesday for Darryl Ferguson, 55, prosecutors rejected the suspect's claim that he lit the Quba Islamic Institute on fire in an effort to keep warm, KPRC 2 reports.

"He told a nearby convenience store clerk that he hated Muslims, they got what they deserved, and things happen for a reason," Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said at the hearing.

Ferguson has been charged with arson in the Friday morning fire that destroyed one of three buildings at the Islamic center, just days after a North Carolina man was accused of killing three Muslim college students. There were no injuries in the fire.

Police said Ferguson admitted to starting the blaze after being stopped by authorities. On Monday, Ferguson said the fire was "an accident," Chron news reports.

Ferguson has a sordid history with law enforcement, racking up more than a dozen arrests on charges ranging from burglary to assault and prostitution in the past.

Authorities are still investigating whether or not the act was a hate crime. A call to Anderson's office was not immediately returned.

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