A Lake County jury convicted a transient of stealing a house in foreclosure by removing "for sale" signs, changing the locks and filing strange paperwork with the county claiming he purchased the house from Yahweh.
Jurors deliberated for less than an hour Tuesday morning before convicting Brent Arthur Wilson of theft, deceptive practices and tampering with public records or information. He faces up to 30 years in prison when he is sentenced Aug. 19.
Wilson was charged in February after Polson real estate agent Ed McCurdy investigated the removal of "for sale" signs from a $380,000 house he was selling on behalf of a lender in August 2009.
Further investigation found Wilson tried to use the house as collateral for a $125,000 loan he sought from a Missoula financial institution.
Prosecutor Jessica Cole-Hodgkinson told the jury Monday that authorities found journals belonging to Wilson that detailed a plan to steal up to 100 homes in foreclosure.
Cole-Hodgkinson asked Lake County sheriff's detective Rick Lenz to read several entries from journals.
"The prospect of claiming and fulfilling my 100-title vision is growing stronger," read one. "Took down one of two Realtor signs," says another entry. "The other needs a tool to dig it up."
Many of the journal entries appear to be addressed to "the creator, Yahweh."
"Wow. You surely have blessed me with some wonderful opportunities," Lenz read from the journals, which referred to a property with a "million-dollar value" that "seems to be waiting for me to claim it. Wow on wow."
Wilson refused attempts by District Judge Kim Christopher to appoint legal counsel for him. He didn't participate in his trial and offered no defense. He read from an IRS document Monday and was reading the Bible during Tuesday's court session.
Authorities have said they believe Wilson tried to claim ownership of at least two more houses, one he was living in and one he was renting out, but he has not been charged in those cases.
A court-ordered mental health evaluation found Wilson fit to stand trial.