[ditty_news_ticker id="27897"] CHURCH ARSON SUSPECT ORDERED TO STAND TRIAL - Orthodox Christian Laity



St Gregory Nyssa El Cajon CASource: San Diego Union-Tribune

By Dana Littlefield

El Cajon — A man accused of setting fire to a Greek Orthodox church in unincorporated El Cajon, and later attacking his cellmate in county jail, was ordered Monday to stand trial on charges including premeditated attempted murder and arson.

Darin Wayne Williams, 39, was arrested and booked into jail Jan. 27, hours after the early-morning fire started at St. Gregory of Nyssa Greek Orthodox Christian Church.


At the end of a preliminary hearing in El Cajon Superior Court, Judge Herbert Exarhos ruled that prosecutors had presented enough evidence for the case to proceed to trial.

The blaze started about 4 a.m. under a patio in the back of the church, off Jamacha Road near Hidden Mesa Road, which had been converted from a single-family home into a place of worship. The fire was reported by a neighbor.

Firefighters extinguished the flames about 45 minutes later. No one was injured.

Deputy District Attorney David Williams III said church members knew the defendant and had been providing assistance to him. The prosecutor did not say how they were helping him.

The Rev. Simeon Corona has described the defendant as a “troubled man” who had been in and out of psychiatric hospitals.

Early estimates of the damage to the church building and its contents were close to $250,000, according to the San Diego Sheriff’s Arson Unit.

Darin Williams faces arson, vandalism and second-degree burglary charges in connection with the fire. He is also accused of attempted murder and assault with intent to commit mayhem, stemming from a Jan. 31 attack inside the jail.

If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.


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