Jeremiah Fogle, Suspect of Fla. Church Shooting, Killed Previous Wife

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By Elton Jones, Christian Post Reporter
September 19, 2011|9:35 am

Jeremiah Fogle, the Florida man who opened fire in a church during Sunday services, previously plead guilty to killing his first wife two decades ago.

In his previous wife's death, Fogle stated in an affidavit states that he answered the door holding a rifle and showed an Avon Park police officer the woman's remains. His 10-year-old stepson later told investigators that he overheard Fogle call 911 and let it be known that he shot someone and then wanted to commit suicide.

Previous court records reveal that Fogle plead guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to probation in 1987. Prosecutors proceeded to reduce the charge from first-degree murder to 10 years' probation, stating that Fogle had handled the rifle in a "negligent, careless and reckless manner." A probation recommendation was made instead of a prison sentence for the crime before the court's official decision. Court documents offer no explanation as to why Fogle's charges were reduced or why he was given probation.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Fogle has been married at least seven times and he expressed outrage over his status as a free man despite the previous wife's killing.

"Of the seven, he's managed to kill two of them. I wouldn't want to marry him if he gets out again," said Judd.

Judd also said investigators came across a journal, three letters and a note in the Fogles' home that appeared to be in Theresa Fogle's handwriting before the Sunday shootings. The contents appeared to involve Theresa Fogle's confessions to infidelity, the sheriff said, but it was not clear if the writings were done voluntarily.

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Jeremiah Fogle is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife, Theresa Fogle, 56, and attempted murder for shooting two pastors at the Greater Faith Christian Center Church in West Lakeland, Fla.

The shooting suspect was held in jail Monday without bail.

Fogle maintained his stoic demeanor and did not speak during court proceedings. His lawyer also offered no comment.

 

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