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More details emerge in the vandalism of the Catholic sanctuary

Tuesday, May 24, 2022, 7:41 pm News Flash Archive

Deona McGee has been arrested for the vandalism that took place on January 26, 2022 at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic sanctuary.

She has not yet been indicted nor convicted of the charges brought against her.

As first reported by The Taxpayers Channel, McGee has a history of multiple arrests by the Greenwood police department, and several misdemeanor convictions. To see our reporting click here: Arrest made in vandalism of Catholic church

The Taxpayers Channel filed a public records request for more documents regarding this incident and McGee's arrest. In response, Police Chief Terrence Craft provided a photograph of Ms. McGee, as well as redacted copies of police reports, and the crucial arrest affidavit and warrant.

Deona McGee. Photo provided by the Greenwood Police Department

Originally, the police department told The Taxpayers Channel that Ms. McGee was arrested on March 22, 2022, but new information shows she was arrested the next day, March 23.

According to the county jail docket, she was brought in at 2:03 pm on March 23, and released at 6:21 pm the same day.

According to the jail docket, McGee was released on a $10,000 bond. Her bonding company is Ace Surety Bonding Company.

In the redacted police report, possible charges were listed as "malicious mischief" and "burglary - commercial property."

But the charging affidavit, executed by Detective Abigail Redmond, specifies a felony violation of Mississippi Code 97-17-39, described in the arrest warrant as "destroying public property."

According to the charging affidavit, the damage done was valued at $11,550, and included destruction of "a chair, table, baptismal font, Virgin Mary statue, hymnal book, candlesticks, crucifix, and [a] Guadalupe painting."

County Court Judge Kevin Adams signed the arrest warrant. To see the affidavit and arrest warrant, click here: Deona McGee charging affidavit and arrest warrant

It might seem strange that the charge is described as "destroying public property," but that is only a handy summary of the law McGee is charged with violating.

That law is Mississippi Code Section 97-17-39, which reads in part:

If any person, by any means whatever, shall willfully or mischievously injure or destroy any of the burial vaults, urns, memorials, vases, foundations, bases or other similar items in a cemetery, or injure or destroy any of the work, materials, or furniture of any courthouse or jail, or other public building, or schoolhouse or church, or deface any of the walls or other parts thereof, or shall write, or make any drawings or character, or do any other act, either on or in said building or the walls thereof, or shall deface or injure the trees, fences, pavements, or soil, on the grounds belonging thereto, or an ornamental or shade tree on any public road or street leading thereto, such person, upon conviction, for such offense, shall be punished as follows....

The law specifies the penalty in this case:

(c) If the damage caused by the destruction or defacement of such property has a value of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) or more but less than Twenty-five Thousand Dollars ($25,000.00), any person who is convicted of this offense shall be fined not more than Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00) or be imprisoned in the Penitentiary for up to ten (10) years, or both.

McGee was to appear before the municipal court on April 6, 2022 at 9 am. The Taxpayers Channel is still trying to ascertain whether she actually appeared in court as ordered by Judge Adams' arrest warrant.

John Pittman Hey
The Taxpayers Channel

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