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Man arrested for urinating on bible, calls himself 'Dark Lord'

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In Prescott, AZ it is possible to be arrested for 'illegall symbol burning', a misdemeanor. Eric Minerault, 22, learned this information firsthand after he was arrested for burning a bible on the steps of the Gospel Rescue Mission on Aug 28, 2014.

An employee of the mission called police around 9 p.m. after they spotted Minerault lighting a fire on the mission steps. By the time police arrived there was no fire, and the bible was now charred and wet. Upon the Prescott Police Department making contact with Minerault, he admitted to burning the bible and then urinating on the book to extinguish the flames. When asked why Minerault said he was the 'Dark Lord' and his intention was to 'curse Christians' at their place of worship.

Minerault may have been able to avoid charges had he not admitted to his behavior. He did not, and was subsequently arrested for unlawful symbol burning.

To clarify, burning a bible is not illegal in Arizona. The statue which triggered Minerault's arrest is in Chapter 17 of Arizona's criminal code, 13-1708:

Unlawful symbol burning; classification
A. It is unlawful for a person to burn or cause to be burned any symbol not addressed by section 13-1707 on the property of another person without that person's permission or on a highway or any other public place with the intent to intimidate any person or group of persons. The intent to intimidate may not be inferred solely from the act of burning the symbol, but shall be proven by independent evidence.
B. A person who violates this section is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor.

Browsing section 13-1707, as referenced above, shows that these laws are intended to prevent people from burning crosses on the yards of others for purposes of intimidation:

Unlawful cross burning; classification
A. It is unlawful for a person to burn or cause to be burned a cross on the property of another person without that person's permission or on a highway or any other public place with the intent to intimidate any person or group of persons. The intent to intimidate may not be inferred solely from the act of burning a cross, but shall be proven by independent evidence.
B. A person who violates this section is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor.

This story has received some attention in the national media as being a case of religious freedom, but that is absolutely not the case. The statute states that the act of burning, by itself, is not the only requirement. Independent evidence must be included to prove that the person burning a symbol has an intention to intimidate others. Minerault admitted to police, at the scene, his intentions.

The Dark Lord was charged and booked into the Yavapai County Detention Center where he is still in custody.

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