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Naked south Forsyth church vandalism suspect indicted on charges

SOUTH FORSYTH — An Atlanta man who was arrested in July for vandalizing a church in south Forsyth while not wearing any clothes has been indicted.

According to a March 14 Forsyth County Grand Jury indictment bill, 44-year-old Stephen Earl Deason faces charges of vandalism to a place of worship, second-degree burglary and second-degree criminal damage to property.

According to the indictment, Deason is accused of maliciously defacing Grace Fellowship Church on Ronald Reagan Boulevard on July 22 by “breaking windows, furniture and destroying electronics.”

He is also accused of breaking into the building and intentionally damaging “windows, doors, furniture and electronics, said damage exceeding $500.”

Initial damages were estimated at $25,000. That figure, however, nearly doubled when the church had to bring in an emergency, disaster cleaning service to clean up the blood the suspect reportedly tracked in after cutting himself on a glass door.

He was later found naked in a retention pond surrounded by a chain link fence on the property, according to an incident report.

Deason was eventually placed in handcuffs after deputies wrestled with him in the pond for about 20 minutes.

During that time, they were able to pry away a wooden stick he had been holding in the air while saying, “This is the cross.”

According to the report, Deason reportedly was “raving religious nonsense” while “splashing around in the muddy water.”

An arraignment with Forsyth County Chief Superior Court Judge Jeffrey S. Bagley has been scheduled for March 30.