Local

Homeless man pleads no contest to setting fire to Virgin Mary statue at SLO Mission church

The Rev. Russ Brown of Mission San Luis Obispo stands next to a statue that was vandalized Tuesday.
The Rev. Russ Brown of Mission San Luis Obispo stands next to a statue that was vandalized Tuesday. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

A homeless man accused of burning a Virgin Mary statue and damaging a historical painting at San Luis Obispo Mission church in November has pleaded no contest to vandalism of church property.

Daniel Pettigrew, 25, entered his plea today before Judge John Trice. A no-contest plea results in a conviction without an admission of guilt.

He’s expected to be given probation and credit for time served in San Luis Obispo County Jail. He has been in custody in County Jail since Nov. 15. His sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 2.

Pettigrew slipped into the church after 7 a.m. on Nov. 15 and ripped a painting from the wall, letting it crash to the ground and damaging the frame, police said.

A fire was set at the base of a statue of the Virgin Mary, badly damaging the figure in several places, including the statue's face. A painting depicting Our Lady of Refuge with the baby Jesus was also damaged.

Pettigrew must pay restitution, stay away from the church, and undergo mental health and drug counseling as part of the plea agreement.

See photos of the damage »

  Comments