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Man indicted for vandalizing Athens church, damaging coffin

By Joe Johnson

A Clarke County grand jury recently indicted a Banks County man for vandalizing a church and damaging a coffin.

William Parker Baldwin, 25, of Timberlane Street in Homer was charged with felony vandalism to a place of worship, felony second-degree burglary, and the misdemeanor offenses of criminal trespass/damage to property, according to the indictment that was filed Oct. 29 in Clarke County Superior Court.

loitering or prowling.

Athens-Clarke County police investigated the incident on Aug. 15 at Victory Chapel on Olympic Drive, where a witness saw Baldwin pulling on the handles of vehicles parked in the area.

Police said the witness confronted the suspect after seeing him pull on a door handle of a Cadillac that belonged to the church.

The suspect reportedly looked at the witness, smiled and then drove away in a car, according to police.

When an employee of Gardenview Funeral Chapel arrived, he found that a model coffin that his business had loaned to the church had been damaged.

The[JJ1] interior of the coffin, valued at $445, was destroyed because cloth, pillows and inside dressing pulled from the casket and thrown across a church hallway, police said.

Police said that the person responsible for the damage had entered the church through an unlocked side door.

Baldwin was identified as the suspect because the church’s video surveillance system recorded images of him and his car and vehicle tag number, police said.

In addition to spreading down a hallway material from the coffin’s interior, the indictment accuses Baldwin of overturning trash cans and dumping creamer on the floor.

Baldwin, who was released from jail on a $6,800 own recognizance bond, is scheduled to be arraigned on Dec. 20.

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