Man accused of trying to burn down St. Gregory of Nyssa Greek Orthodox Church speaks out to 10News

Darin Williams denied the charges against him

SAN DIEGO - A man accused of setting fire to a church in El Cajon spoke with 10News during a jailhouse interview on Saturday.

Darin Williams, 38, has been an on-again, off-again member of St. Gregory of Nyssa Greek Orthodox Church for years.

When asked why he would want to set fire to the church, Williams responded, "Well, actually I'm not really at liberty to talk about that right now." 

Williams said his lawyer had told him not to discuss the charges against him. Williams is accused of trying to burn down the church – which is located on Mary Ann Way at Jamacha Road – last weekend.

10News video from that night showed smoke pouring from the building. Fortunately, firefighters arrived on scene quickly and saved precious church material, including sacred icons.

10News was at Saturday evening's Vespers service and spoke with parishioners about Williams. They all wished him well and said that they forgave him. That was the same message 10News heard from the parish priest, Fr. Simeon Corona. 

"We're praying for him," he said. "We're asking for forgiveness for him and for us… for all the woundedness that happened."

10News reporter John Carroll told Williams that everyone at the church expressed forgiveness and wished healing for him. 

"Awesome, I love it," said Williams. "I couldn't be happier to hear that. Wow."

Williams suffers from mental illness. He told 10News that he is back on his medication and is feeling better. 

He shared one last thought before the interview wrapped up. 

"What I want to do first… that things with God be reconciled in the end somehow," said Williams. "Either it's going to happen in this life, or it's going to happen in the life to come."

Williams apparently told police that his patron saint, St. Gregory of Nyssa, had told him to set fire to the church. 

When 10News asked him about that, he would not comment. He has denied all the charges against him.

Williams is being held at the Central Jail in downtown San Diego. Bail was set at $250,000.

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