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Shawnee youth pastor accused of trying to murder his family, setting home on fire appears in court

Matthew Richards
Posted at 4:02 PM, Sep 18, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Shawnee child pastor accused of trying to stab his family to death then setting their home on fire appeared Monday in Johnson County District Court.

Matthew Lee Richards, 41, is charged with five counts of attempted murder and one count of aggravated arson.

Fire and police crews responded around 3:47 a.m. on Saturday to a home in the 6600 block of Goode Drive after a report of a fire and disturbance.

Crews located a fire in the basement of the home and transported six victims as well as Richards to area hospitals.

Officials later revealed Richards had allegedly stabbed an adult woman and four other juveniles. A 19-year-old was also injured in the incident.

Richards most recently served as a children's pastor at Crossroads Christian Church, officials from the church confirmed.

The church released an updated statement on Richards' crimes on Monday.

"The Crossroads Christian Church family is shocked, sickened, and saddened by Saturday morning's events involving our former children's pastor," the church said in part in the post. "This is a tragedy beyond what any of us could have imagined. We give our full cooperation and support to the Shawnee Police Department and the Johnson County Sheriff's Department as they conduct their investigation."

During his court appearance Monday, Richards was assigned a public defender and his next court appearance was set for 11 a.m. on Sept. 29.

He remains in custody at the Johnson County Adult Detention Center on a $5 million bond.