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Court finds man who destroyed Ten Commandments monument unfit to stand trial

(REUTERS/Steve Barnes)A statue of the Ten Commandments is seen after it was installed on the grounds of the state Capitol in Little Rock, Arkansas, U.S. June 27, 2017.

A court has determined that the man who was charged with destroying a Ten Commandments monument in Arkansas earlier this year was mentally unfit to stand trial.

On Thursday, Circuit Judge Chris Piazza had decided that Michael Tate Reed was unfit to proceed based on the diagnosis of state doctors and ordered him committed to a state hospital to determine if he will ever be fit to stand trial.

Reed, 32, crashed a vehicle into the privately funded Decalogue display outside the Arkansas Capitol building on June 28, less than 24 hours after it was installed. He faced a felony criminal mischief charge for destroying the monument.

According to The Associated Press, he was also arrested in 2014 for destroying a Ten Commandments monument in Oklahoma. Prosecutors declined to file criminal charges against him that time, but he was referred to mental health treatment.

Reed's relatives noted that he has been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, which can cause hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thinking and manic behavior.

"We met him in jail. He's a very sick person, and this is the right outcome," said Robert Hodge, an attorney for Reed.

In a live video on Facebook, Reed was heard yelling "freedom" as he crashed a vehicle into the monument outside the Capitol building.

He had reportedly posted another video in which he stated that he is a proponent of the separation of church and state and feels that "[t]here's no one religion government should support."

In July, Reed admitted to reporters that he has been diagnosed with mental illnesses that include schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but insisted that he is not "mentally insane."

"I meant to do it, fully well," he said, referring to his act. "I did it because I fully believe I'm the rider on the first white horse in Revelations," he added.

AP noted that the monument destroyed by Reed was a replica of a Ten Commandments display at the Texas Capitol that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2005.

The lawmaker who introduced a 2015 measure that allows the privately funded monument to be placed on Capitol grounds said that a replacement has already been made, but did not disclose when it will be installed.

A spokesman for the secretary of state's office said the new monument will undergo another review by the Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission to determine if there are any changes or additions from the original display. Several groups have expressed plans to sue for state endorsement of religion after the monument is in place.

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