Moore County Church Vandals Say They Regret Actions
Posted March 28, 2003 9:28 a.m. EST
CARTHAGE, N.C. — Seven suspects charged with vandalizing a historic church in Moore County made their first court appearance Thursday.
The suspects, ages 16 to 21, face misdemeanor charges of property damage, breaking and entering and an additional charge of ethnic intimidation.
They allegedly smashed windows and furniture, and carved a racial slur into the pulpit at the 117-year-old Free Liberty United Christian Church in early March.
Several of the suspects say they regret their actions and want to make amends to the church.
"I did take part in it. I have to suffer the consequences. I won't lie. I took part in it," suspect Carson Jones said.
"I would rather help fix it up. I feel stupid for doing it. I want to help rebuild it," suspect Mark Matthews said.
Despite the fact that racial slurs were found in the church, the suspects insist the attack was not racially motivated. Their parents insist they help repair and pay for the damage.
"It's time to pay the piper. When you do something wrong. you pay the consequences. The court will do. It's unfortunate, but it's time to grow up," said Linda Castillo, mother of a suspect.
Damage to the 117-year-old church is estimated at $5,000.
One of the suspects, Wayne Sands, has already donated $800 towards the cleanup effort and said he hopes to help with repairs.
Those charged in the case are scheduled to be back in court on April 17.
In the meantime, the church has been holding services outdoors.
Donations to help the church rebuild can be sent to:
Free Liberty United Church of Christ P.O. Box 1601 Pinebluff, N.C. 28315