Serial window breaker enters mental health court program

Serial window breaker enters mental health court program

DECATUR — Howard D. Lovelady, the baseball bat-wielding serial breaker from the windows of Masonic temples in central Illinois, has pleaded guilty to criminal damage charges.

The plea was the price of a plea deal that saw Lovelady, 29, accepted into Macon County Circuit Court’s mental health court program. Lovelady, who left behind a damage bill of more than $25,000 after his outbursts, will avoid jail and even a criminal record if he completes all court-ordered mental health treatment and other behavioral requirements strict.

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Sworn affidavits filed by Decatur police said Lovelady launched a series of vandalism attacks on the Masonic Temple in downtown Decatur and a temple in Blue Mound in January and February.

He had smashed several windows and doors and was caught shortly after. Decatur police report he was released on bail from the Macon County Jail on March 22, and the following night showed up outside the Decatur Temple and ripped an air conditioner from a window.

A close up of a set of badly damaged doors at the Decatur Masonic Temple. The repair bill for damage to all doors and windows in the building is estimated at over $25,000.

Tony Reid

A temple staff member who confronted Lovelady said he had bricks in his hand and walked around the building several times. “(The staff member) said…Howard was making fun of him saying things like ‘You won’t do anything,'” an affidavit said.

Blue Mound Police Chief Chad Lamb later told the Herald & Review that Lovelady was the prime suspect in a series of temple window smashes, not only in Decatur and Blue Mound, but also in the temples of Mattoon, Arcola and Springfield.

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Lovelady appeared in court on Monday and told Judge Phoebe Bowers he was pleading guilty to two counts of criminal damage; one charge was for damages over $500 and the other over $10,000. Four other charges of criminal damage were later dismissed along with charges of criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.

Bowers warned Lovelady that if he opted out of the mental health court program, he would have to return to the regular criminal justice system where his guilty pleas carry penalties of up to five years in prison.

“You have to be in court when they tell you to be in court, you have to keep all your appointments, don’t miss them…” Bowers said. She told him he had to be “completely honest” with the court and admit any issues he had, such as falling into drug use.

“So keep us posted and we’ll try to help you as best we can, but you have to participate,” Bowers told Lovelady. The judge then ordered the accused’s release from Macon County Jail, where he has been held since July 6.

Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid

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