September 20, 2011 / 12:10 AM / 6 years ago

Florida man accused of shooting wife, pastors had killed before

ORLANDO, Fla (Reuters) - A Florida man accused of killing his wife and then critically injuring two Christian clergy in a weekend church shooting had served probation for killing another spouse 25 years ago, court records show.

Jeremiah Fogle, 57, was being held without bail on Monday following his arrest on first-degree murder and attempted murder charges.

Authorities said he marched into a church in Lakeland, Florida, on Sunday during a prayer service and shot and wounded two clergymen before church members tackled him and took his gun.

“If you go to my house, you will find a full confession and my wife,” Fogle told a Polk County Sheriff’s deputy as he was being taken into custody, according an arrest affidavit. “She’s dead.”

Detectives found Theresa Brown Fogle, 56, dead in the couple’s home a block from the church. She was shot in the head, chest and throat, Sheriff Grady Judd told Reuters.

According to court records, Fogle was also arrested on a first-degree murder charge in July 1986, when he was accused of shooting wife Diane Fogle in Avon Park, Florida, with a rifle.

But records showed Jeremiah Fogle later pleaded guilty to manslaughter and received 10 years of probation as part of a plea agreement. Judd said Diane Fogle also was shot in the throat.

Judd said detectives were still trying to determine what set Jeremiah Fogle off in the current case and why he targeted the pastor and associate pastor at the Greater Faith Christian Center Church.

A search of Fogle’s home turned up notes that appeared to be in Theresa Fogle’s handwriting and included admissions of infidelity, Judd said. Detectives were investigating whether she wrote them, either voluntarily or under duress.

Fogle told detectives that he loved his wife, whom he married in 2002, with all his heart, the arrest report said. He then invoked his right to remain silent.

Fogle and wife Theresa were once members of the church, where Jeremiah served as a deacon, but fellow parishioners said the pair had not attended services there in several years.

“If there’s one place that you should be safe, it should be in your house of worship,” Judd said in a phone interview. “He was in a murdering rage yesterday.”

Writing by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Cynthia Johnston

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