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(Michelle Higginbotham / American Press)

(Michelle Higginbotham / American Press)

Daniel Wayne Duplechin

Daniel Wayne Duplechin

Accused church vandal ordered to undergo sanity assessment

Last Modified: Thursday, May 09, 2013 10:02 AM

By Johnathan Manning / American Press

A judge on Wednesday ordered a man accused of smashing church statues to undergo a sanity assessment.

Daniel Wayne Duplechin, 36, was scheduled to go to trial June 17, but once a sanity commission begins, all court proceedings are put on hold until it is completed.

Four Sulphur churches — Our Lady of Prompt Succor, Our Lady of LaSalette, Henning Memorial United Methodist and Sulphur First Baptist — were vandalized in December, with statues shattered at Prompt Succor and LaSalette.

A witness at LaSalette said Duplechin approached with a sledgehammer. Police reported that Duplechin said God ordered him to destroy the statues. Some of them were more than 100 years old.

Duplechin was reportedly seen at Prompt Succor praying the day before the crime.

Sanity hearings

Judge Kent Savoie on Wednesday ruled two people mentally incompetent to stand trial.

Marlena Narcisse, 34, accused of striking a Westlake police officer with a vehicle in October 2012, was declared mentally unfit to stand trial.

Westlake police said she hit an officer who was trying to apprehend her in relation to a disturbance on Flowers Street.

Savoie ordered her to Feliciana Forensic Facility until she could be found competent to stand trial.

Savoie also ordered Gassaway Channel, 45, to Feliciana. He is charged with one count of obscenity.

Psychiatrist Dr. James Anderson said that over the years he has evaluated Channel five times and has never found him competent and likely never will.

Prosecutor David Kimball lamented that there are few long-term facilities left to take care of mentally ill people. He said jail is not the place for Channel, but that “he keeps exposing himself in public.”

Channel spoke out several times during the hearing, telling the court that he wanted to go home.

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