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Wheaton pastor held for cussing in court, serving 5-day sentence in Kandiyohi County

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Wheaton pastor held for cussing in court, serving 5-day sentence in Kandiyohi County
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

The pastor of a church in Wheaton, Minn., where a toddler died in a fight this month will finish up a five-day stay in jail tonight for uttering a curse word in a court hearing last week.

The Rev. Danny Barnes is the pastor and founder of Thy Kingdom Come, where a 14-month-old girl died on Sept. 4 several hours after being struck by a baseball bat. The incident has led to murder charges for David Eric Collins, a 50-year-old member of Thy Kingdom Come.

In an unrelated case in nearby Big Stone County, Minn., Barnes and three others are charged with burglary and kidnapping. The felony charges are linked to an alleged June 22 home invasion in Beardsley, Minn.

During a six-hour hearing in that case on Thursday, Judge Gerald Seibel found Barnes in contempt after he said a curse word. The judge gave him five days in jail.

Barnes will be freed at 9 p.m. today from Kandiyohi County Jail, jail officials said. He's being held there because Big Stone County has no jail. He's out on the burglary and kidnapping charges on a $40,000 bond.

Kenneth Hamrum, attorney for Barnes, said there wasn't much that could be done to contest the ruling.

"Basically, your only appeal is sweet talking the judge to take it back," he said. Hamrum said he apologized for what Barnes said. The lawyer didn't hear the comment, but said it came after the pastor tripped while standing up and was "something on the order of, 'Oh, how clumsy of me.' "

County Attorney William Watson said he didn't hear the comment either, but he is confident it was cussing.

"He obviously said it loud enough for the judge to hear him," Watson said.

A trial is set for Oct. 28 in the charges against Barnes, Hamrum said. The pastor has pleaded not guilty and denied the allegations.

Though the incidents of June 22 and Sept. 4 are not connected, Darryl Glenn Kennedy is charged in both cases. Kennedy lent the bat to Collins, police say, and came to the church after the fight with a wood board looking for the father of the girl killed.

Police say the blow that allegedly came from Collins was meant for the girl's father. Collins was upset about a $20 debt and a used washer and dryer, court documents state.

Dave Roepke
Dave Roepke is the news director for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. Previously, he was a reporter who covered a variety of beats at one time or another for The Forum, including courts/crime, city/county government and nightlife/entertainment. He's been with The Forum since 2004. He's a native of Iowa and a graduate of Iowa State University. 
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