NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - During a hearing Monday morning, a Nacogdoches County court-at-law judge sentenced two Church of Wells members who were found guilty of criminal trespass for returning to a McDonalds after an NPD officer warned them to not come back.
County Court-at-Law Judge Jack Sinz sentenced James MacPherson to serve 12 months of probation in Cherokee County. Sinz said if MacPherson violates the terms of his probation, he will serve the 30-day jail sentence that Sinz waived.
In addition, Sinz said MacPherson's probation will be cut to three months if he stays out of trouble with the law in that period. MacPherson will also have to pay court costs.
Troy Dannenberger, the other Church of Wells member found guilty of criminal trespass will have four months to pay his $125 fine. He will also be required to pay court costs.
Sinz said that Dannenberger's case is different because it didn't seem like the issue had started with him. He pointed out that the McDonald's manager didn't even know Dannenberger was with MacPherson.
"I've been praying to God, and I ask that your judgments come from on high," Dannenberger said at the hearing. "All we're doing is declaring his name, and we're doing no wrong."
MacPherson said they "are the sons of God."
"We don't marvel at the manager that hates us," MacPherson said. ""We don't marvel at the officer that misunderstood us."
County attorney Paige Patillo said that more severe charges could have been filed against the two men, but instead the NPD officers gave them a criminal trespass warning, and they left.
"They could have gotten a disorderly conduct," Patillo said. "They could have got failure to identify. The Nacogdoches Police were very lineient on these men and only gave them a tresspass."
"When they came back two weeks ago, the manager asked them to leave, and they didn't," Patillo said.
The county attorney added that the Nacogdoches Police officers were very clear when they issued the criminal trespass warnings to the two Church of Wells members.
Patillo said that the county is working 100 criminal trespass cases this year, and 50 of them are still pending. She said the state was asking for six months of community service.
The county attorney also pointed out that the officers involved in the case would have to be in court for six hours and then go work their regular 12-hour shifts.