Carl Daniel, 29, was charged with vandalism to a place of worship after a Richmond County sheriff’s deputy caught him running away from Ebenezer Seventh Day Adventist Church on March 18. The deputy described his demeanor that morning as “very aggressive,” and the deputy drew his weapon when he saw Daniel holding a brick.
“He was very, very tense,” Assistant District Attorney Geoffrey Fogus told Superior Court Judge David Roper.
Daniel’s attorney, Holly Chapman, said Daniel was having a psychotic episode after not taking his medication and that he is normally “mild-mannered, sweet and calm.”
“He didn’t even realize it was a church,” Chapman said. “He has a great respect for the church and God.”
Because of his schizophrenia and chronic paranoia, Daniel was under the belief that someone was trapped inside the building, Chapman said.
Roper said the six months Daniel has already served in jail was a sufficient amount of time and ordered Daniel to pay $4,000 in restitution.
Pastor Ronald Wright said when he arrived at the church that morning it looked like a hurricane had decimated the building. All of the windows in the church and the adjoining school were destroyed and shards of glass covered the carpet and furniture. Both buildings were eventually declared hazardous material zones because the finely ground glass posed a danger to the lungs. A big tent set up on a nearby property served as the church and the school until everything could be replaced and cleaned months later. The total bill was $86,000, although insurance covered most of it, Wright said.
Wright said Daniel was obviously not in his right mind when he saw him sitting in the back of a patrol car. The church has been praying for him since the incident.
“We just want him to get the help he needs,” Wright said.