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Arrest made in vandalism of Catholic church

Tuesday, May 17, 2022, 6:35 pm News Flash Archive

Greenwood police have arrested 26 year old Deona McGee of Greenwood and charged her with vandalism in the January 26 destruction in the sanctuary of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church.

The vandalism was discovered by choir members late that Wednesday afternoon, when they came for practice.

The vandal overturned the altar, bent and broke candlesticks, defaced art on the walls, tore pages out of Bibles and hymnbooks, and destroyed a large antique statue of the Virgin Mary.

Several days later, a very grainy frame from a security video taken from across the street was published, showing what appeared to be a female dressed in a priest's vestments leaving the church. It was estimated that the woman was inside the church for several hours.

According to Jody Bradley, executive administrator of the Greenwood Police Department,

Deona McGee was arrested on March 22, 2022 for the crime of Vandalism. Her case is pending presentation to the Grand Jury. She has been released from custody.

No details as to bond amount are known at this time.

Both the city police and the Leflore County Sheriff's department declined to provide a mug shot of the suspect.

According to the brief jail docket report published by the Greenwood Commonwealth on March 25, 2022, Ms. McGee was released on bond after being charged with "destroying public property," but no connection with the church vandalism was reported at that time. Her age was given in that report as 26, and she was reported as living at 2900 Browning Road, in what formerly were known as the Delta Apartments, but which are now called "Williams Landing."

But this is not the first time Deona McGee has been arrested. According to the Commonwealth's arrest report and court sessions archives, she has been arrested at least 8 times since 2014, for marijuana possession, malicious mischief, simple assault, domestic violence, no driver's license/insurance, and contempt of court.

According to the Commonwealth archive, her convictions include possession of marijuana (fined $444.25 and 6 months probation in 2016), disturbing the peace (fined $644.25 in 2018), and domestic violence ($494.25 and ordered to attend anger management sessions in 2020).

In Fall 2021, she appears to have stopped attending criminal court hearings, resulting in multiple bench warrants being issued against her for failure to appear.

McGee failed to appear in city court in January 2022 on charges of domestic violence, simple assault, possession of marijuana, and contempt of court.

The Taxpayers Channel has filed a public records request with the city of Greenwood to obtain the paperwork and photographs of the crime scene, and details about McGee's arrest and current legal status.

John Pittman Hey
The Taxpayers Channel

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