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updated: 5/14/2014 12:36 PM

Attorney: Plea deal near for woman accused in church vandalism

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  • Meghan Heinze

      Meghan Heinze

 
 

A plea deal is nearly complete for a Gurnee woman accused of vandalizing 21 Lake County religious institutions during a six-day period in February, her defense attorney said Wednesday.

Attorney Evan Winer told Judge Raymond Collins that negotiations are ongoing with prosecutors on the charges against Meghan Heinze, 22, of the 100 block of Wellington Court. Winer said the goal is to have a final plea deal in place when both sides return to court June 4.

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After the hearing, he said he would not discuss the terms of the plea deal until after it's presented to the court.

Heinze is free from jail after posting the required 10 percent of her $500,000 bail. She was charged with counts of criminal defacement of a place of worship, institutional vandalism, and criminal damage to a place of worship.

If found guilty of the most serious charge, she could be sentenced up to seven years in prison.

Authorities said Heinze spray-painted obscene messages near the entrances of 10 houses of worship in Gurnee, nine in Waukegan, one in Libertyville and one in unincorporated Lake County near Green Oaks between Feb. 14 and Feb 20.

Authorities said Heinze admitted to the vandalism after her arrest, saying she was "angry with religion" and upset that people were "following a book written thousands of years ago."

Winer said in previous court hearings Heinze was taking medication and was under the care of a psychiatrist before the vandalism spree.

She has no prior convictions, and was working at a fast-food restaurant and attending classes at College of Lake County before her Feb. 28 arrest.

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