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Florida church shooting suspect had killed a previous wife

September 19, 2011 |  4:41 pm

New information came to light on Monday about Jeremiah Fogle, the Florida man accused of shooting two pastors at prayer on Sunday morning and of killing his wife in the couple's home.

In 1986, Fogle, 57, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of his then-wife Diane, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, which is investigating Sunday's shootings.

"For reasons unknown to us, Fogle's 1986 charges were reduced from first degree murder to manslaughter," a representative of the sheriff's office told The Times in an email. "He received 10 years of probation for his crime."

The sheriff's representative also noted that Fogle has been married seven times.

"Of the seven, he's managed to kill two of them," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told the Associated Press. "I wouldn't want to marry him if he gets out again."

On Monday, the sheriff's office also released recordings of the two 911 calls that alerted law enforcement to the shootings. In one, a man breathing heavily reported that people had been shot and then said, "Please help us, ma'am," and asked for an ambulance.

Another caller, who watched the mayhem from outside the church, told the dispatcher that people were screaming and running from the church and that he heard four or five shots. "Lord have mercy," he said.

Police say Fogle first shot and killed his wife, Theresa Fogle, then walked down the block to the Greater Faith Christian Church. Witnesses told police that he strode down the center aisle to where Pastor William Boss was kneeling in prayer and shot him in the back of the head.

Fogle then turned to Associate Pastor Carl Stewart and shot him in the back three times, police say, before two parishioners overpowered Fogle and took away his gun.

Boss and Stewart are in critical but stable condition at Lakeland Regional Medical Center.

The Fogles were once members of the Greater Faith Christian Church, and were married there in 2002.  

"We don't know exactly why he went on this mad rage," Judd said.


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Image: Jeremiah Fogle, 57, appears in court in Bartow, Fla. Credit: Rick Runion/Associated Press