APn 09/24 1714 Devil Beating Copyright, 1990. The Associated Press. All rights reserved. D

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APn 09/24 1714 Devil Beating Copyright, 1990. The Associated Press. All rights reserved. DEVINE, Texas (AP) -- A minister and two church members accused of trying to "beat the devil" out a depressed man have been convicted on false imprisonment charges. The Rev. James D. Price, pastor of the First Assembly of God Church, returned to the pulpit Sunday -- two days after his conviction -- cried and called his trial a "time of storm." Price, 42, was convicted Friday by a State District Court jury in Hondo along with Robert L. Nixon Jr., 43, and Alvin R. Nixon, 32, who are brothers. All are from Devine, 30 miles southwest of San Antonio. They are to be sentenced Oct. 29. Evertt "Ray" Weimers, 44, also from Devine, testified the three restrained and beat him last January as part of a religious rite, scratching and bruising his face and separating his right shoulder. Dr. Ricardo Castillo, who treated Weimers, testified the victim was depressed and confided to Price about marital and financial problems. "The preacher told him the reason he was feeling that way was that he had the devil in him and needed to be exorcised," Castillo said. "Then the preacher went to get some more parishioners to beat it out of his system." During his sermon Sunday, Price said "we hold nothing against anyone, the judge, Mr. Weimers, anyone." Several church members said they support their pastor. "I haven't seen him (Price) do anything improper," said church member Mary Craig. The three face a maximum possible sentence of 10 years in prison and $5,000 fines. "I don't think it will go that far. The judge was shocked," said Mrs. Craig. "He couldn't understand why the verdict went that way."

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