Kansas youth pastor accused of trying to murder his family and set their house on fire

SHAWNEE, KS – A youth pastor from Kansas is facing serious charges after allegedly attempting to murder his wife and five children before setting their home ablaze. Matthew Richards, 41, has been charged with five counts of attempted premeditated first-degree murder and one count of aggravated arson with risk of bodily harm. The incident took place on September 16.

Richards’ family, which includes a 19-year-old and four minors, along with his wife, all suffered from laceration injuries of varying severity, as per the Shawnee Police Department. The local police and fire department were alerted to a disturbance and fire at the pastor’s residence at 3:47 a.m. on the day of the incident.

Upon arrival, firefighters discovered a fire in the basement of the house located on Goode Drive in Shawnee, which they promptly extinguished. All the victims, including Richards, were transported to the hospital for medical attention.

Richards, who is described as a “big kid who loves teaching little kids about Jesus” on the Crossroads Christian Church website, has been married to his wife Stephanie since 2003. The couple has four boys and one girl. The family has been part of the Crossroads community since August 2016.

In response to the incident, Crossroads Church Senior Pastor Kurt Witten issued a statement on September 16, acknowledging the situation involving Richards, the church’s Children’s Pastor. He urged respect for the ongoing investigation and requested prayers for the Richards family. The investigation into the attempted murders is still underway, with Richards currently held on a $5 million bond.