Thursday, November 4, 2010

LDS Member Patrick Ehat Formally Charged With Arson And Burglary In Torching Of Two LDS Chapels In South Salt Lake

Patrick Ehat, identified as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, appeared in Third District Court on November 4th, 2010 where he was formally charged with two counts of charges of aggravated arson, a first-degree felony, and two counts of burglary, a third-degree felony in association with two LDS chapel fires in South Salt Lake on October 30th. KSL news video embedded below:


Video Courtesy of KSL.com

According to charging documents, the 26-year-old Ehat admits setting the fires because he believes the Church had lied to him over some nonspecified issue. The first fire was reported around 3:30 A.M. at the chapel located at 3219 S. 300 East, displacing two congregations, and the second at 6:48 A.M. at an LDS chapel at 2702 South Main, displacing three congregations. All five congregations found alternative chapels for their meetings. More specific details about the congregations available at Mormonism-Unveiled.

A South Salt Lake Fire Department investigator determined that an accelerant was used to start the fire at the church on 300 East. The accelerant was placed on the sacrament table, the podium, an organ and a piano in the chapel; damage now estimated at $1 million. The same investigator concluded an accelerant was used to start a fire at an LDS meetinghouse on Main Street, originating on a couch; only minor smoke and water damage resulted. Ehat also had injuries consistent with climbing through a broken window. He was arrested 23 hours after the first fire thanks to a tip from the public, and is currently being held at Salt Lake County Jail in lieu of $500,000 bail.

Patrick Ehat's booking record (go HERE then enter his name) also shows misdemeanor charges of domestic assault and criminal mischief on October 28th; no further details given. Shortly after Ehat was arrested, his parents gave the following statement:

"We love our son Patrick. We understand from news reports that he has confessed to two church arsons. Because he has limited his contact with us in recent months we are unable to speculate about motive. We are confident that medical professionals will assess his mental health. We have cooperated fully with law enforcement and grieve at the damage caused".

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