Green Street Church fracas goes to court

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 12, 2003

A decision in the Green Street Church cases will occur in the next two weeks.

After hearing from the pastor, associate pastor and church member directly involved in the cases in addition to a number of witnesses, Municipal Judge Greg Tolar said a ruling would be handed down in the next 14 days.

Tolar looked at the assault charge against Edward Lanier, 56, and the menacing charge against Associate Pastor Nathaniel Daniels, 75, as two separate cases.

Email newsletter signup

The warrant for the assault charge against Lanier was signed Feb. 2 by Pastor Earnest Colvin, 65.

Under questioning by attorney Alston Keith, Colvin said that before the service on Feb. 2 Lanier entered the pastor’s study and demanded keys to the church.

Circuit Judge Marvin Wiggins had ordered the keys be given to Lanier and other church members in a previous hearing.

Colvin said that when he didn’t immediately hand the keys over, Lanier began to &uot;raise a ruckus&uot; and threatened Daniels. Colvin said Lanier kneed him in the back and pushed Daniels.

Attorney Billy Faile, representing Lanier, then asked Colvin what Lanier’s position within the church was.

Colvin said that on Feb. 2 Lanier was a chairman of the board of deacons.

Under Faile’s questioning Colvin said that on Feb. 9 he gave a sermon where references to the devil where made. The devil comes into the church in many ways, Colvin had said, and one of them was to sit in the front row with his legs crossed.

At the time, church member Anthony Moore, who testified against Colvin, was in the front row with his legs crossed.

Colvin said that it was just a coincidence.

Church member Charles Rogers testified that Lanier could have gotten the keys the following Wednesday, but he was determined to disturb the service. He also said that Wiggins’ order concerning the keys didn’t specify a date on when they had to be handed over.

Church member Sammy Coleman said that while in the study it appeared that Daniels had pulled a knife.

To the gasps of those present, Coleman said that he then pulled Lanier out the door and away from the study.

Moore agreed and said that Daniels looked like he was going to pull something out of his pocket. He added that he never saw Lanier strike Colvin.

In his testimony, Lanier said that Wiggins had told him to pay the church’s bills. He and the church trustees were in charge of the church, Lanier said, and to pay the bills they had to have the church keys.

Lanier added that on Feb. 2 Daniels jumped up and told those assembled to &uot;get out the office.&uot; Daniels then pulled up his robe and pulled out a knife, Lanier said.

Lanier then backed out of the room.

Keith asked Lanier if the church was divided or split into two. Lanier agreed and said that it was split down the middle.

Concerning the menacing charge against Daniels, church member Eddie Thomas said he saw Daniels pull a knife out of his back pocket. Daniels didn’t threaten anyone, he added, he just pulled it out.

Rogers, however, said that all Daniels pulled out of his pocket were keys.

Faile said that he didn’t believe there was any question about the evidence, but he was disappointed that Tolar didn’t make a ruling on Tuesday.

However, he added, he felt as if his client, Lanier, would be vindicated.