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Hartselle Enquirer

Four arrested for destroying church altar

By Staff
Tracy B. Cieniewicz, Hartselle Enquirer
Four Hartselle residents were arrested and charged with criminal mischief last Sunday after destroying an altar at Annunciation of the Lord Catholic Church in Decatur, but the group may be facing additional charges as the investigation of the incident continues.
Val Eugene Loughman, 20, his wife, Emily Beth Loughman, 21, Adam Joseph Turgeon, 27, and his common-law wife, Lisa Marie Wagner, 26, were arrested by Decatur Police after disrupting the 11 a.m. Mass and destroying the church's marble altar. A fifth female suspect from Decatur was apprehended but released after questioning.
Decatur Police reported Wagner shouted at the congregation, accusing them of worshipping false idols, while Turgeon knocked over and destroyed the altar. The Loughmans' role in the incident is still under investigation. The Class C Felony carries a two-year sentence.
According to Decatur Police Department, all four suspects reside at 1004 Mitwede Street in Hartselle. Val and Emily Loughman were released Monday from the Morgan County Jail on $750 bond. Turgeon and Wagner, who relocated to the area recently from New Hampshire, posted their $750 bonds Tuesday.
Decatur Police Sgt. Steven Campbell said additional charges may result from the ongoing investigation.
"We're looking at if the other two people (Val and Emily Loughman) were more involved than initially thought," Campbell said. "It is possible the additional charge could be for a hate crime, but that hasn't been determined yet and we just don't know right now."
Campbell said the investigation includes researching the criminal backgrounds of each of the four suspects. As of Tuesday, the investigation had not unearthed a criminal history on any of the four people arrested.
"I haven't seen an incident anything like this before," Campbell explained. "I'm not sure what their motivation was."
Graham Langlois, owner of Coffeehouse Junction in Hartselle, said the foursome had come into his store last week after the story in the Hartselle Enquirer about how witchcraft rumors were hurting his business.
"They said they were upset and wanted to hold Bible studies here to see if they could help business," he said. "They had Bibles with them."

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