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Pair Charged In Ridgewood Church Shooting Brought To Court

Defense attorney James Seplowitz, Joseph Galli, defense attorney Brian Neary, Alexander Norrell Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia
Alexander Norrell at Monday's arraignment in Hackensack. Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia
Joseph Galli at Monday's arraignment in Hackensack. Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. -- Two cousins charged with shooting up a landmark Ridgewood church last winter were arraigned Monday morning in Hackensack on eight separate counts, including firing an assault rifle.

Their attorneys entered not-guilty pleas for Alexander Norrell of Ridgewood and Joseph Galli, both 22-year-old former U.S. Marines.

Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Keith Travers said he wasn't ready yet to discuss plea deals with both -- but noted that Norell and Galli are charged with weapons offenses that carry five-year mandatory prison terms with no parole for three.

Attorney Brian Neary, who is representing Norrell, told Superior Court Judge Frances A. McGrogan that he'll be challenging a series of search and cell data warrants that prosecutors obtained. He said he'll also likely ask to sever his client's trial from Galli's.

A grand jury in Hackensack indicted both in September for firing 30 or more rounds from an assault rifle at the unoccupied Old Paramus Reformed Church, one of Bergen County's oldest buildings, overnight Christmas evening into the morning of Dec. 26 last year.

The bullets went through a stained-glass window of the 200-year-old church, causing $50,000 worth of damage.

This came after nearly a dozen shots were fired at the building on Nov. 16.

An investigation determined that no individual or group was targeted -- it was more a matter of the building being isolated and convenient, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said at the time.

Investigators quickly zeroed in on Norrell, who'd left the Marines, and Galli, who was an active lance corporal with the 1st Battalion 6th Marine Regiment at the time of his arrest.

They seized two assault rifles and .223-caliber ammunition matching the kind that they said was used at the church.

Military police at Camp LeJune, N.C., took Galli into custody in January, after which he was brought to New Jersey.

Defense attorney James Seplowitz said this morning that the Corps discharged Galli -- after 2½ years that included action in Iraq -- as a result of his arrest.

Galli remained held on $100,000 bail in the Bergen County Jail. Norell posted $105,000 bail and was released on July 28 after spending nearly seven months behind bars.

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