Preliminary Hearing Set for Vacaville Pastor’s Firebombing Trial
The preliminary hearing for the trial of the Baptist pastor accused in January of firebombing his former girlfriend’s family home has been set for September 26.
Pastor Mark Lewis, who met Sarah Nottingham while she was a member of the Fellowship Baptist Church’s congregation, is accused of committing arson at an inhabited structure, and stalking. The firebombing occurred at Nottingham’s home on Chateau Circle in Vacaville. Testimony at a probable cause hearing in Solano County Superior Court in July outlined how the quality of Nottingham’s relationship with Lewis diminished until, eventually, she attempted to end the relationship in late 2013.
After that, Lewis allegedly warned Nottingham that she “had created a monster.” During the next two weeks, Lewis allegedly harassed Nottingham on the phone, committed vandalism of her property, and attempted multiple times to set her family’s home on fire. These monstrous methods of harassment Lewis employed were revealed in testimony and court documents.
At about 3:30 am on January 9, a Molotov cocktail (a glass bottle filled with gasoline, and ignited by a wick made from a twisted rag stuck in the bottleneck) crashed through a window in the Nottingham residence. Coincidentally, within a matter of minutes, a Vacaville police officer patrolling Leisure Town Road observed a U-haul box truck break a traffic law while rolling toward the I-80 onramp. The patrol officer pulled the truck over.
Kristen Broyles, 30, of Citrus Heights, was driving; her passengers were Anthony Newbolt, 33, and Richard Wright, 28. Both passengers are residents of Sacramento. In a subsequent interview with Vacaville Police Detective Omir Torres, Newbolt disclosed that Pastor Lewis had instructed him in the how to “send a message” by firebombing the Nottingham home on Chateau Circle. Broyles, Newbolt and Wright were all homeless in early January and taking shelter in the church. The trio also stand accused of arson; their trial date has yet to be scheduled.
Lewis has entered a not guilty plea and remains lodged in Solano County Jail with bail set at $500,000.