A 36-year-old religion-hating anarchist who also harbors a distaste for government stands accused of defacing seven Edina churches with spray paint within a week last year, according to a criminal complaint.
Malcolm E. Johns, of Edina, was charged with first-degree felony damage to property and was scheduled to appear in court Thursday. However, he failed to show up, and a warrant was issued for his arrest, with bail set at $50,000.
Reached at his parents' home in Edina, Johns said he skipped his court appearance because "I'm just done with this planet. I hope [police] kill me. However they do it is fine."
Johns added that he's received medical attention in the past, but "I just don't trust them."
The incidents started on June 2, 2010. In each instance, the churches were sprayed with a reddish-brown paint forming one of two images: a circled number 81 or a heart surrounding the letters "SMS" and the number 42, along with other characters. The images were large, covering significant portions of exterior walls.
The churches varied in denomination, including Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist and Jehovah's Witnesses. All were west of Hwy. 100 and within walking distance of Johns' parents' home.
Discarded spray cans with the same color paint were found at two of the churches. Authorities say a fingerprint on one of the cans matched Johns, who has a previous property damage conviction.
According to the criminal complaint, Johns explained to police that he is an anarchist who doesn't agree with government, people who work for government and religion.
Johns said that "he felt just in damaging the church property because he hates religion," the complaint read.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482