Criminal proceedings resumed March 30 for a man suspected of felony vandalism at the Metropolitan Community Church after a judge determined he was mentally competent to understand court proceedings.
San Diego Superior Court Judge Cindy Davis said she read the psychiatric evaluation of Richard Meza, 28, which was conducted in jail.
A preliminary hearing was set for April 13. Neither Meza’s attorney nor the prosecutor presented any argument. The psychiatric evaluation is not public record, but it is presumed the psychiatrist believed Meza was mentally competent to stand trial.
He is charged with vandalizing a house of worship and committing $4,272 damages in vandalism at the church at 2633 Denver Street. Meza appeared in court March 30 in blue jail clothes.
MCC security cameras captured images of a man throwing a cinderblock, rocks, and a soda bottle at two windows and a glass door at 4 a.m. on January 10. The church sent the images to San Diego Police and Meza was arrested.
The damages have already been fixed after donations and other funds came to $4,074, according to the church’s GoFundMe page and Senior Pastor Dan Koeshall. The glass door on the first door was shattered as well as two windows were broken.
Davis changed Meza’s no bail status to $25,000, but his attorney docketed a bail review for April 5 in hopes another judge would lower it further. Meza remains in the George Bailey Detention Facility.
Koeshall said the church has a $2,500 deductible in the insurance policy, and they decided not to make a claim. Another church donated funds along with a local judge and many others, some from out of state contributed to the GoFundMe page.
Koeshall said the congregation has prayed for the vandal, but that he needs to be held accountable.
“I would want him to get help and then also to prevent that anger from coming out on another innocent person or innocent place,” said Koeshall in an interview with KGTV Channel 10.
The GoFundMe request says MCC “serves a very diverse community where everyone is welcome–regardless of faith, background, race, gender identity, or sexual orientation.”