Circuit court charge filed against Ten Commandments monument destroyer | Arkansas Blog

Circuit court charge filed against Ten Commandments monument destroyer

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MICHAEL REED: Charged in circuit court.
  • MICHAEL REED: Charged in circuit court.
The Pulaski County prosecuting attorney's office filed a direct charge in circuit court today against Michael Tate Reed, who's been held in the county jail since he was arrested June 28 after driving over and demolishing the day-old Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol grounds.

Prosecutor Larry Jegley said he was charged with first-degree criminal mischief, a Class C felony punishable by a prison term of 3 to 10 years and a fine up to $10,000. Jegley said the statute is a newer version of the old vandalism statute, with the degree of severity determined by the value of property destruction. The destruction of the monument was put at $15,000.

The new charger supersedes original charges of criminal mischief and two misdemeanor charges — trespassing (though Capitol grounds are open) and defacing an object of public respect.

Reed, in an interview with the Times' Jacob Rosenberg, said he just couldn't help himself that morning. "God told me I needed to run the car into it." He said that he understands that he "sounds insane" and if properly evaluated could be considered mentally insane with "chemical imbalances galore." He received treatment, rather than a prison term, after similarly knocking over a Ten Commandments monument in Oklahoma.

Reed, 32, of Van Buren, is under a $100,000 bond. He's represented by a public defender who said mental health might be an issue at trial.

Jegley acknowledged that, but said an evaluation of that was "down the road."

Reed will be able to ask the Circuit Court for a new bond hearing. Until then, he remains jailed.

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