A Smithfield man accused of breaking into the Logan Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and damaging property will undergo a competency evaluation before his case moves forward.
During time allotted for a preliminary hearing in 1st District Court on Monday, defense attorney Mike McGinnis said he and his client, Peter Ambrose, were not prepared to move forward with the hearing and wanted a competency evaluation.
Ambrose asked Judge Thomas L. Willmore for work release so he could get a job and make payments for the damages. Willmore said Ambrose could not yet be released because he has not been sentenced.
Ambrose told the court at the time of the incident he had not been taking his medication and was “wrapped up in a lot of self-anger.” He said he also hadn’t prayed in two months and “had an angry spirit” with him.
On Christmas Eve, police allege Ambrose, 34, broke into the Logan Temple and damaged property with an ax. According to an affidavit of probable cause, Ambrose allegedly damaged paintings, artificial plants and curtains. Police said they found the ax stuck in a wall behind a smashed mirror and found that a fire extinguisher had been set off. The estimated cost of the damage was around $5,000.
After searching the building and believing it to be secure, police left the scene. They returned around 30 minutes later after a responsible party at the temple believed someone was locked in a temple room. Police responded, found Ambrose and took him into custody.
A press release from Logan City Police Department stated Ambrose was upset because it was Christmas, he couldn’t see his children and Latter-day Saint girls would not date him.
Initially Ambrose was charged with burglary, a third-degree felony; and criminal mischief, a second-degree felony. According to court documents, on Dec. 30 the burglary charge was amended to aggravated burglary, a first-degree felony.
Ambrose faces five years to life in the Utah State Prison if convicted of the first-degree felony charge.