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Woman accused of stealing, lighting fire at church and attacking deputies
Dana Elaine Lawton
Dana Elaine Lawton

A woman is suspected of arson and burglary following an incident Oct. 6 that ended at a Gainesville church.

Dana Elaine Lawton, 33, was found on the floor inside Gainesville Seventh-day Adventist Church when Hall County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded at about 9:50 p.m. to the church on Old Cornelia Highway near Pierce Road. Hall County Fire Services was already on scene.

“(She) refused commands from deputies, who were forced to carry her out of the church because of fire and smoke in the room,” according to a news release from the Hall County Sheriff’s Office. She attempted to stab them several times with an ink pen as they took her into custody outside the church and then spat on them as they questioned her in a patrol car, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Before she was found at the church, where a glass door had been shattered, Sheriff’s Office investigators believe Lawton and a man opened a storage shed on Pierce Road to steal from it. She ran to the church and the man ran into the woods when a resident spotted them, the Sheriff’s Office reported.

Lawton is charged with two counts of second-degree burglary and two counts of obstruction of an officer. Additionally, Hall County Fire Services obtained a warrant for first-degree arson.

The case remains under investigation by the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.

Compiled from a Hall County Sheriff's Office news release.

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