VALE, N.C. — A missionary and his family from Catawba County claim their civil and religious rights were violated after they were arrested nearly 2,000 miles away -- near Cameron, Montana.
Jesse Boyd said he and his family were on a journey across America, carrying a cross and flag, when a man confronted them. Court documents say that confrontation turned violent, with Boyd being arrested, and others, including his children, being handcuffed.
Their journey through 17 states, where they passed out information about the gospel, ended with them in jail. The family bonded out of jail in Montana, but are required to wear ankle monitors at their home in Vale.
Boyd and his family told Channel 9′s Dave Faherty they walked more than 5,000 miles across the country as part of their work with North Carolina-based Full Proof Gospel Ministries. Photos show Boyd carrying a cross and others holding an upside down flag -- not to show disrespect, but instead distress over the direction of the country.
Their missionary work cam to an abrupt end at a snowy intersection in Montana, when Boyd said another vehicle pulled up to them. He said the driver began yelling at them about where they had parked.
“‘I’m sorry, we’re leaving right now.’ At that point he just lit into a rage, cursing -- my son was standing right there,” Boyd said. “I told them there wasn’t any need to act like that.”
Boyd said the confrontation escalated when the driver got out of the vehicle and charged at him. He said he drew his own gun with his family nearby.
“Told him, said ‘we don’t want any trouble, I’m in fear for my life, can you get back in your car,’” he said.
Boyd said the driver appeared to calm down so he put the gun away. But that was when he said the man shoved him into the car, struck him in the face and knocked him to the ground.
“He told us we weren’t welcomed in Montana,” Boyd said. “He told us there were rifles trained on us and if we moved, we’d be shot.”
Boyd said he, his daughter and two other missionaries fought back against that man -- Bradley Terrell. Court documents say they struck Terrell multiple times and hit him with their flag pole. They were later arrested and charged with felony aggravated assault.
Faherty reached out to Terrell by phone on Tuesday. He said he wouldn’t comment about what happened, but did say, “I’d love people to see the evidence. Stay with us, follow the case and follow the facts.”
Jesse Boyd is back home in North Carolina where he’s required to wear an ankle bracelet, hoping someday to continue his missionary work.
“At some point, I will take up that cross at the very same spot where this took place, and we’ll continue our journey as the Lord leads us to the Pacific Ocean,” Boyd said.
Faherty reached out to prosecutors in Montana. They wouldn’t talk about the case, but said they plan to press charges against Jesse Boyd in the next few weeks.
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