Students had been reading a book about the Salem witch trials
FERNDALE — A 20-year-old man is facing an assault charge after allegedly accusing his English literature teacher of being a witch and then pouring liquid on her. The man also threatened the teacher with a cigarette lighter and cigarette.
Darin Najor of Ferndale is charged with assault and battery, a 93-day misdemeanor in the Sept. 11 incident at Taft Educational Center where he attends adult education classes, Ferndale Police Lt. William Wilson said today. The students had been reading Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” regarding the Salem witch trials.
“This apparently occurred after a class discussion on witchcraft, and what people used to do with witches,” said Wilson. “After one class, he asked his teacher if she believed in witchcraft and what was done, and she said no. The next thing she knew, he came up behind her and poured some liquid on her out of a bottle and ignited a cigarette lighter, as if he was going to light her on fire.”
The liquid later proved to be a nonflammable substance, Wilson said, and the teacher was not injured in the incident.
Najor was committed to a hospital for 72-hour observation and later released from the hospital. He appeared Tuesday for arraignment on the assault charge, complained of not feeling well and was placed back in an area hospital for observation, police said.
Najor has been expelled from the school, Detective Ken Denmark said.
“The suspect later told us he was trying to kill the witch by pouring holy water over her head,” said Ferndale Detective Ken Denmark. “We confiscated two lighters from him and he was committed for psychiatric evaluation.”
The suspect, Darin Najor, 20, faces a pretrial hearing Oct. 23 in Ferndale 43rd District Court on a misdemeanor charge of assault and battery. He was arrested and posted bond in the incident on Monday.
The English teacher told police she had a discussion with Najor the day before the incident about “The Crucible,” an assigned play by the late Arthur Miller set in 1692 that deals with events that led to the Salem witch trials.
Najor asked the teacher if she believed in witchcraft, police said. The teacher told him she did not believe in witchcraft and explained that the events in the play were a metaphor for unjust persecution, police said.
“The suspect threw his homework papers on the floor and declared it was all blasphemy,” Denmark said. “The next day he came up behind her chanting what sounded like religious verses while she was working at her desk.”
He poured a liquid over her head and was holding a green barbecue lighter, she told police.
“He said he was trying to purify the witch,” Denmark said.