Arson suspects could’ve been after coins on night of church burning

By Jesse Campbell -

WEST JEFFERSON-A possible motive has surfaced in the breaking and entering and subsequent burning of North Beaver Baptist Church that occurred in July 2012.

According to court records, several rolls of wrapped coins were taken from the church the night of the arson.

This information was found in the arrest warrants for Anthony Dustin Graybeal, who was one three originally charged in the case.

The allegations of the stolen coins had not previously been reported. Altogether, $200 was reported stolen.

After several continuances, Graybeal is scheduled to appear again in Ashe County Superior Court on Feb. 6 on felonious charges of burning a church/religious building, breaking and entering a place of worship and larceny after breaking and entering.

His alleged conspirator, Damion Okoyia Blevins entered an Alford plea last month to a felony charge of burning of a religious building.

Essentially, an Alford plea involves a defendant who proclaims he is innocent of a crime, but admits that the prosecution has enough evidence to prove that he is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

For purposes of sentencing, Blevins’ church burning charge was consolidated with a separate charge of felony obtaining property by false pretenses. He will serve 11-23 months in the N.C. Department of Adult Corrections at the expiration of a term of 78 to 106 months in prison for discharging a weapon into an occupied building.

Reach Jesse Campbell at 336-846-7164.

By Jesse Campbell

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