Man accused of breaking into Logan Temple found mentally incompetent

Booking photo for Peter A. Ambrose (Courtesy: Cache County Jail).

LOGAN — A 34-year-old Smithfield man arrested last year after breaking into the Logan Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been found incompetent to stand trial. Peter A. Ambrose was arrested December 24.

Ambrose appeared in 1st District Court Tuesday morning. He was previously charged with criminal mischief, a second-degree felony; and burglary, a third-degree felony.

Public defender Mike McGinnis explained how Ambrose had completed a mental health evaluation, done by a psychologist. The doctor found the defendant lacked the mental ability to understand the court process or defend himself in a trial.

McGinnis said the psychologist’s report provided some explanation of Ambrose’s actions but did not justify the alleged crime. It also outlined what medical treatment they could proceed with.

Judge Thomas Willmore ordered Ambrose to be transferred from the Cache County Jail to the Utah State Hospital. He highlighted, the psychologist’s report suggested that the defendant could be restored to competency quickly, with proper treatment and medication.

Ambrose was arrested on Christmas Eve after police found him locked inside a room on the main floor of the temple. Evidence suggested he had used a ladder to climb over the building’s exterior fence, break the glass doors and gain entry into the temple.

Once inside, Logan City police officers allege Ambrose damaged paintings, tore down curtains and used an axe to shatter a mirror. A fire extinguisher was also sprayed over furniture and the floors.

While later being arraigned in court, Ambrose claimed he broke no earthly laws and couldn’t be charged with breaking into a house of god’s. He rambled about how he was angry about some “personal problems,” at the time the crime occurred. He said he should have just taken his medication or smoked cannabis, which he claimed helped his diabetes.

Ambrose will remain in the state hospital until his competency is restored. He will then be transferred back to jail to face the pending charges. He is scheduled to appear again in court April 14 and could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

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