His story comes straight out of a juicy crime film, a tale of a male “black widow serial killer” or perhaps even Henry VIII. Jeremiah Fogel’s alleged actions this week combined with his faraway past seem almost urban legend rather than staggering truth.
Sunday morning, Fogel purportedly shot and killed his seventh wife, Theresa Fogel, in their Lakeland, Florida home. Later, law enforcement investigators found journals and letters written by Theresa confessing to having affairs with over 20 men. It is not clear whether they were written voluntarily.
Fogel then allegedly proceeded to Greater Faith Christian Center Church where he used to be a deacon. That morning he could have potentially became a categorical serial killer as he assertedly shot Pastor William Boss in the head and Associate Pastor Carl Stewart in the back. Luckily both men survived and parishioners successfully tackled Fogel to the ground to prevent any more attacks. In Fogel’s pockets were six more rounds of ammunition meaning the kill count could have been frighteningly higher. Perhaps the motive for Fogel showing up at the church stems from six years ago when Pastor Boss asked the shooter to take time off from the congregation due to physical contact that made female parishioners uncomfortable.
The chilling part is that Theresa’s death and the pastors’ injuries could have been prevented. Twenty-five years prior, Fogel shot and killed another of his wives. The prosecution charged him with manslaughter rather than murder, stating that “he had handled the rifle in a negligent, careless and reckless manner.” Fogel only ended up spending 26 days in jail and spent the rest of his sentence out on probation.
This understandably angers Clark and Polk County Sherriff Grady Judd. He stated, “Had he been in jail for first-degree murder for his then-wife Diane Fogel in 1986, his current wife would be alive today.”
Maria Beauford said that she was in shock about the murder of her sister Theresa since Fogel always seemed like a friendly and happy man. Beauford also said she had no knowledge of Fogel’s six past wives and that he had shot and killed one of them. One wonders whether Theresa was in the dark about his past as well.
Along with Theresa’s handwritten notes, law enforcement found a Bible opened to a passage in the Book of Michael that read, “Think not that I have come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” Did Fogel believe his alleged vicious acts were fulfilling an ordained mission from God?
Sources: Associated Press and CNN