Mobile man indicted on charge of desecrating Messianic Jewish House of Worship

| January 13, 2010

MOBILE, Ala. — A Mobile man has been indicted on federal charges accusing him of desecrating a local Messianic Jewish house of worship.

Christian Rodney Ice faces charges of conspiracy to violate the rights of individuals to hold property because of race and damaging religious property. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison on the most serious charge.

Ice could not be reached for comment.

Mobile police in January of last year arrested another man, Thomas Hayward Lewis, in connection with the incident at Congregation Tree of Life Messianic Synagogue in west Mobile. He has a tentative trial date set for May in Mobile County Circuit Court.

The federal indictment does not name Lewis as a defendant but refers to an alleged co-conspirator by the initials T.L.

"Because he hasn't been indicted doesn't mean he won't be in the future," said Assistant U.S. Attorney George May.

According to the indictment, Ice and the other man drove from downtown Mobile to the Congregation Tree of Life address on Jan. 3, 2009. Ice then allegedly spray-painted the exterior walls with anti-Semitic rants, swastikas and graffiti.

Congregation members consider themselves Jewish but also accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah.

May said that the case is unusual for southwest Alabama.

"Fortunately, we do not see a lot of that," he said.

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Category: Church Security

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