A Smithville man who recently posted offensive and blasphemous notes on the properties of five local churches has been charged in a joint investigation by the Smithville Police and the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Departments .
57 year old Laddie Bill Jerrells of Long Street, Smithville was arrested Wednesday, July 5th on twenty four counts including charges of vandalism, disorderly conduct, harassment, and desecration of honored places. His total bond is $36,000 and he will make a court appearance July 20.
According to Sheriff Patrick Ray and Smithville Police Chief Mark Collins, Jerrells went to two churches in the City of Smithville (June 22 and July 4) and three churches in the county (May 13, June 25, and June 29) and posted offensive notes on the church properties, either on the front doors, buildings, or signs. At one of the churches in the county, Jerrells posted a note twice but on separate days.
The incidents occurred at a time when no church services were being held and no particular denominations were targeted.
Smithville Police charged Jerrells for the two cases in the city. The rest of the charges were brought by the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department against Jerrells for the incidents at churches in the county.
Although WJLE has not filed charges, a similar irreverent note bearing the name of Laddie Jerrells, was recently posted on the front door of the WJLE studios.
The disorderly conduct charges basically allege that by posting the notes, Jerrells intended to cause public annoyance or alarm and created a physically abusive condition by an act that served no legitimate purpose.
On the harassment charges, Jerrells is accused of intending to communicate with the churches in a way that annoyed, offended, alarmed, or frightened.
The vandalism charges contend that by posting the notes, Jerrells tampered with church property causing substantial inconvenience to the members.
On the desecration charges, Jerrells is accused of treating a place of worship with great disrespect by posting irreverent notes on the churches.
In a joint statement, Sheriff Ray and Police Chief Collins said their departments will always strive to keep churches safe and secure so that congregations can worship freely and in peace.