A Newton County man had to spend a night in jail and is now facing charges after his Star Wars hobby may have taken him to the dark side.
Justin Marling's Stormtrooper fandom created concern on Sunday in the small town of Newborn, which is about 20 miles north of Monticello.
Marling was walking down Pitts Chapel Road in full armor and a plastic gun.
He says he did it was to raise awareness for a charitable cause: Star Wars Force for Change. Their website says its mission is to inspire people to have a positive impact on the world.
"Well, if I want to wear it in public, I'm going to do it for a reason," he explains.
When you're dressed a little out of this world, though, that draws attention. The Jasper County Sheriff's Office stopped him.
"I didn't realize," Marling says. "I was kind of in shock."
"According to the incident report, when deputies pulled up, Marling had two hands on what they thought was a real weapon. They told him to put the weapon down, but Marling turned away and continued walking. Deputies gave a second command, and it was at that point Marling put the gun down and took a step back.
"I was scared, because their guns are real. Mine isn't."
He was arrested for reckless conduct and wearing a mask. Georgia Law says that's not allowed unless it's for a holiday or a function.
Marling admits this is not the first time law enforcement has intervened.
"In Fort Drum, military police arrested me, but they didn't charge me with anything."
When asked if his days as a member of the Imperial Army were over, Marling replied:
"No, absolutely not. As long as there's Comic-Con conventions or anything like that, I'm a Stormtrooper for hire."
He never thought his mask would mean a misdemeanor, and he did not mean to cause any fear. (Unless you're part of the Rebel Alliance.)
Marling was released from jail Tuesday on a $2,000 bond.