Church Arsonist Released From State Prison

By: Kent Faulk -- The Birmingham News
By: Kent Faulk -- The Birmingham News

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Russell Lee DeBusk Jr., a former Birmingham college student arrested in March 2006 for a string of church burnings in Bibb County, was released on probation Thursday from an Alabama prison, Alabama Department of Corrections Brian Corbett confirmed this morning.

DeBusk had been serving his state sentence in the Staton Correctional Facility in Elmore County.

Bibb County Circuit Judge Marvin Wiggins had entered an order on Monday, retroactively making DeBusk's state sentence run concurrent with the federal sentence he had completed serving earlier this year. That, in effect, means DeBusk had completed his state sentence.

Churches and Bibb County's district attorney had opposed DeBusk's early release.

DeBusk in April had been released from federal prison where he had been serving a prison sentence related to the arson. But he was immediately returned to Alabama to serve an additional two-year state term. He had been scheduled to be released from his state sentence on May 6, 2014.

The two other former Birmingham Southern students sentenced in the Bibb County arsons are to complete their federal sentences next year followed by their state sentences. Those two were also convicted in church arsons in other counties.

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