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(Michelle Higginbotham / American Press)

(Michelle Higginbotham / American Press)

Sulphur man accused of vandalizing churches to stand trial

Last Modified: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 10:41 PM

By Johnathan Manning / American Press

A man accused of destroying statues in Sulphur churches in December reported a history of delusions and hallucinations, but is now mentally competent to stand trial, two court psychiatrists testified Wednesday.

State district court Judge Kent Savoie followed the recommendations of Dr. James Anderson and Dr. Garrett Ryder, ruling Daniel Wayne Duplechin, 36, 731 West Lyons St., competent to stand trial.

Duplechin is charged with four counts of simple burglary of a religious building. He is set for trial Jan. 27.

Authorities said Duplechin shattered statues at Our Lady of Prompt Succor and Our Lady of LaSalette churches in Sulphur and vandalized Henning Memorial United Methodist and Sulphur First Baptist in December 2012.

Duplechin was on probation for third-offense DWI at the time of the alleged incident. He pleaded guilty to third-offense DWI in October 2012.

Anderson evaluated Duplechin on June 18, and Ryder saw him on July 3. Both testified that Duplechin suffers from bipolar disorder that is exacerbated by substance abuse.

Anderson said it was a bit of a “chicken or the egg question,” but that the doctors were tasked with determining whether Duplechin is now competent to help with his defense.

Both said Duplechin told them he had a history of delusions and hallucinations, but is stable on the medication he takes. “This is working for him,” Anderson said.

Duplechin was “genuine” and “sincere” as he told Ryder the events of Dec. 15, the doctor said. “He wanted to convey he was on a mission from God,” Ryder said.

Duplechin reported psychotic episodes outside of the presence of drugs, but told Anderson he took intravenous methamphetamine the day before the alleged incident, the doctor said.

Duplechin said he saw an image from the Holy Spirit in reading glasses a week before the alleged incident, according to Anderson.

Anderson said Duplechin told him he had seen an image of the pope being hanged. Duplechin thought he was being led by God, Anderson said.

When Duplechin was 18 years old, he saw an angel and Jesus’ name written in the sky, Ryder said Duplechin told him. Ryder said Duplechin told him that when he and God spoke it was as if they were having a “one-to-one conversation.”

Duplechin said God told him to go to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Ryder said. Ryder said Duplechin still has the beliefs, but is no longer in a delusional state. Ryder said that looking back, Duplechin was able to see errors in his judgment.

Public defender James Flammang said he wanted to change Duplechin’s not guilty plea to not guilty by reason of insanity, but Savoie admonished him to take some time to think about the change before making it official.

When defendants plead not guilty by reason of insanity, they must prove they were insane at the time of the crime.

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