Charges dropped against E. Alabama man in pulpit attack

Charges dropped against E. Alabama man in pulpit attack

PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) - A Phenix City man accused of punching a pastor in the pulpit has made amends.

Willie James, 57, apologized to the pastor of Bethel AME church after court Tuesday morning.

James is accused of attacking Pastor Grooms during Sunday morning service while he was in the pulpit, saying God told him to do it.

Both parties agreed to dismiss harassment and disorderly conduct charges against James on three conditions.

He will not sue the pastor and his wife, make no contact with them on social media, via email or phone, and he's barred from the church.

Pastor Jesse Grooms and his wife say they want to make sure this man doesn't disrupt their service again like he did last month.

The all shook hands and hugged after it was all over.

"I think it as a wake-up call and like I told his attorney, I threw him a lifeline and hopefully, he'll take it for what it is, realize it what he done and be more careful," Grooms said.

Grooms says he nor his wife did not know James. He was also ordered to pay $350 in court costs.

James' attorney declined to comment. The Grooms say they just want to put this behind them and move forward.

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