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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended April 16, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 14Apr00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Man Who Rammed LDS Chapel With Truck Enraged At Church
Billings MT Gazette 14Apr00 D2
By Michael Milstein: Gazette Wyoming Bureau

POWELL, WYOMING -- The man accused of raming his pickup truck into an LDS Chapel in Powell, Wyoming was dissatisfied with the Church and said he wanted to form his own church, one that would allow members to smoke and drink coffee. Kenneth Albert Wiley, 47, has been charged with nine felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one felony count of property destruction in the 4:30 p.m. Monday incident.

After he had been escorted from the LDS Chapel on Monday afternoon for smoking in the building, Wiley, who had repeatedly been asked not to smoke in the building, became enraged, and "turned around and threw his hand in the air and stated, 'I declare myself a high priest of this church.' " He then walked back to his truck, according to an affidavit quoting Daniel Kelsey filed with the police, got in and drove up the walkway, "The man then backed up and pointed the truck straight for the front doors. The man drove slow at first and then stepped on the gas and sped through the front doors. Everyone in the foyer ran toward the hallway. Daniel Kelsey and others watched the man drive through the glass doors, through the foyer, through the doors into the gymnasium and then into the wall on the other side of the gymnasium."

Wiley was the only person injured in the incident, and he was treated for minor cuts and abrasions.

The nine counts of assault with a deadly weapon come from the nine individuals visible through the front door glass of the chapel when he rammed the building. The pickup truck is considered the deadly weapon. Wiley faces up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine for each of the counts.

The day after the incident, police obtained a letter from Wiley's wife, Christine, describing his "general dissatisfaction with the church, as well as his wanting to start a new church that allowed coffee and cigarettes," according to the affidavit says. The letter had been written to acquaintance Greg Clark of Powell, who provided the letter to police.


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