Posted by: Singh Is King | Saturday, August 18, 2007

Man pleads not guilty in Gurdwara ramming

A Redding man accused of stealing a 25-ton front-end loader and ramming it into a Sikh temple in Anderson pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity Monday in Shasta County Superior Court.Michael Benjamin Rafferty, 39, will be evaluated by two court-appointed psychologists and is due to return to court Sept. 12 for a review of those reports and for the possible resetting of his trial date. He was due to start standing trial Aug. 21.

Rafferty faces about 11 years in prison if convicted of all the charges against him. He is accused of stealing the front-end loader March 13 and ramming it into the 9,000-square-foot temple, causing about $54,000 in damage.

During his April preliminary hearing, an Anderson police officer testified that Rafferty told him he vandalized the temple because he thought it was owned by Arabs who don’t believe in Jesus.

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