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Vandal suspect pleads guilty
2 others await trial in
attack on Catholic church

By Sheryl Marsh
smarsh@decaturdaily.com 340-2437

The criminal case involving an attack on a Catholic church in Decatur is closer to resolution with one defendant pleading guilty and two others facing trial this week.

Police said four people went to Annunciation of The Lord Catholic Church on Oct. 2, 2005, and disrupted Mass, destroying a century-old altar. The alleged acts occurred before communion.

At the time, witnesses said two of the suspects jumped from their seats, went near the Rev. Joe Culotta and screamed that Catholics worship idols. One of the men went behind the marble altar and shoved it down the steps, smashing it.

Last week, Emily Beth Loughman pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal mischief in Morgan County Circuit Court.

Loughman, 22, of 1004 Mitwede St., Apartment 8, Hartselle, entered the plea agreement with the district attorney's office, which recommended that her punishment be two years in prison, an official said.

Loughman is applying for probation, and Judge Sherrie Paler set sentencing for May 17.

Paler granted Loughman's husband, Van Eugene Loughman, youthful offender status in March, and his case is sealed.

Adam Turgeon, 27, and Lisa Wagner, 26, both of Hartselle, are scheduled for trial this week for first-degree criminal mischief and third-degree burglary.

It could be Wednesday before Turgeon and Wagner's trial begins, a court official said.

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