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Grand jury indicts woman for attacking paintings

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Susan J. Burns, the Alexandria woman who twice was arrested in connection with attacks on paintings in the National Gallery of Art, has been indicted by a D.C. grand jury on seven counts, including destruction of property, threats to do bodily harm, unlawful entry and second-degree burglary.

The highly publicized incidents occurred on or about April 1 and Aug. 5, according to the indictment filed this week. After the April 1 incident, a D.C. Superior Court judge ordered Burns, 53, to stay away from the museum, an order she allegedly violated last month.

In the April incident, Burns was arrested for allegedly trying to tear an $80 million Paul Gauguin painting off the wall of the National Gallery of Art. She pounded the painting, which was protected by a plexiglass shield, with her fists, authorities said.

In the August incident, Burns is accused of attempting to rip a $2.5 million Henri Matisse oil painting off the wall at the museum and slamming the frame against the wall three times, police said.

After the second incident, Burns was transferred from D.C. jail to St. Elizabeths Hospital. She is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday for a mental observation hearing and a felony arraignment.

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