Thursday, June 13, 2024

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Trials for three teens charged with July vandalism of Saxapahaw church transferred to superior court

A.N. EXCLUSIVE/BREAKING TUESDAY: Each of the three teenagers accused of vandalizing Moore’s Chapel Baptist Church in Saxapahaw in July will now be tried as adults in superior court.

Chief district court judge Brad Allen decided Tuesday that the two suspects who were 15 at the time of the alleged vandalism, Peyton Parlor and Gabriel Smith, would be transferred to superior court. The decision follows a similar ruling by Allen earlier this month to move 16-year-old Catalaya Harris to superior court, as well.

New information in the case was revealed during Tuesday’s proceedings when assistant district attorney Morgan Whitney told the judge that Harris had been the first to be apprehended when a neighbor’s security camera footage was used to identify the 16-year-old.

Whitney also informed Allen that the teenagers allegedly began vandalizing the church around 10:00 or 11:00 p.m. before leaving and returning around 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. to complete what the attorney termed “nothing short of an attack on this church.”

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The total cost of damages to the church totaled $40,521, he said.

Ronnie King, a deacon at the church, described some of the damage in July, immediately following the vandalism: “They stopped up every sink with paper and flooded the building.” King reported that the entire floor throughout the building will likely need to be replaced.

King said investigators were able to get a “lot of good footprints” because the suspects “had scattered food items all over the building – cakes, ketchup, barbecue sauce.  They sprayed our two fire extinguishers; there’s a few holes kicked in the wall.”  Hot dogs were thrown on the floor, King said, and “anything that was in the refrigerator was thrown on the floor.  It’s a royal mess.”


Most of the damage to the church was in the fellowship hall on the back side. The Asst. D.A. said Tuesday that the vandals came back for an encore of damage in the early a.m. hours of July 6, after having started the rampage on Sunday night, July 5.

They also smeared a key lime pie on the outside of a stained glass window on the main church building.



Rev. Fred Treadwell and other church officials present Monday morning after the damage had been done expressed gratitude that the vandals had not been able to gain access to the main church building and sanctuary, lest the damage would have been even greater.

The sheriff’s office also noted that air conditioning ductwork in the fellowship hall was punctured.

Meanwhile, outside the three threw a cinderblock through the front windshield and busted out two side windows of the church’s van.  They also spray-painted profanities on the bus and an adjacent trailer, and slashed all four tires on the bus.


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