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GEM COUNTY -- After months of worship in borrowed sanctuaries, two churches in Emmett that were torched by fire are now renovated and back to normal.

However, the case is not closed.

In April of 2013, those in Emmett were rocked by the crime and woke one Saturday morning to find the First Baptist and Community Bible Church damaged heavily by smoke and flames.

Lance Zagaris, the Pastor of First Baptist was awaken bright and early that morning by a call from the Pastor at Community Bible Church, Jonathan Phillips.

He asked if I knew if my church was on fire, Zagaris told KTVB in April 2013. So I got dressed and came on down here, and the firemen were already here.

However months after the tragedy; Sunday morning songs of worship sailed once again from the First Baptist Church of Emmett.

On Sunday, the congregation gathered back within these walls for the first time in months.

It feels great, said Zagaris.

There was some closure back in December when William Dorahush was sentenced to 25 years in prison with five years fixed for first degree arson and conspiracy to commit arson.

Still, another man waits to be charged for the crimes.

But we are working that out, and it will be moving forward, said Gem County Prosecuting Attorney Richard Linville.

Linville said the charges against Bradley Thomosson are pending because he is back in prison serving time for violating the conditions of his probation that stem from murder charges in northern Idaho, 20 years ago.

Gem County has to wait for the process to work through the system.

The route that we have taken doing one, and then doing another the churches, their congregations, their pastors they understand the reasons for that, said Linville.

Linville believes the community is past the crimes.

These crimes were very serious crimes for our community, but also that we have had a strong support from both congregations, from both the churches and everyone involved in the crime. They do want to see the prosecution but they do want to see it done right, Linville explained.

So now after months of borrowing other venues to hold services and waiting for renovations, things are back to normal for both congregations.

It s has been a challenge at times, said Zagaris. And it s been nice to be in those places but there is no place like home.

Dorahush will also have to pay $2 million in restitution, and has four prior arson convictions.

Linville said Thomosson will likely face similar penalties and charges. He was serving 20 years time in prison, which ended in 2012, for shooting his adoptive parents when he was just 17-years-old.







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