Two Charged In Connection With Church Robberies in Jacksonville Area

Jacksonville’s teenagers will be just that: teenagers. For some, a teenage life will include sports, friends and a love life. For others, pranks and theft will be the act of the day. However, these actions have consequences, consequences that could forever alter or destroy that teenager’s life. Fortunately for those in situations like this, if one obtains an experienced attorney to fight for one’s case and ensure that one’s rights are protected.

According to the Florida Times-Union, Matthew Lee Hudson Jr. and Devin Anthony Fennell have been charged with four counts each of burglary and grand theft, five counts of dealing in stolen property and one count for felony criminal mischief. The charges come after the two were accused of stealing air conditioning units from three local churches in Putnam County. The units were scrapped at local junk-yards, by which the police were able to locate the units and trace them back to the two men. centralair.jpg

Jacksonville theft crimes typically involve those who steal from private individuals, stores, banks, or other businesses. However, when the place being broken into and stolen from is a church, the situation becomes increasingly more difficult for the accused.

Under Florida law, the crimes these men are accused of carry sentences far beyond the ability of the simple human mind to fathom if all of the sentences rendered are served back to back. Not only does the quantity of charges severely disfavor the accused, but if the State can prove that the accused did the crimes in question, the accused will be painted to be attacking churches.

Unfortunately for accused people in the legal system, even though there is a separation between church and state, when someone steals, harms or in any way commits a crime against or involving a church, the public backlash as well as the backlash within the legal system can be astonishing. For many, even though the fact that a church was robbed should not play into the determination of sentencing for the accused, the accused will suffer because of a judge or State attorney’s personal beliefs.

For many, the process of defending one’s self in a situation like this can be horrifying, because of the weight of not only the prosecution’s evidence, but the weight of the public opinion possibly swaying one’s case. However, if one obtains an experienced Jacksonville theft defense attorney to fight one’s case, one can ensure that one’s right to a fair trial will be guaranteed and that one’s defenses will be known and brought before the court in the best way possible.

If one obtains an experienced attorney, one can be sure that in a case like this, that one will be judged based on what the law says, not what the people say. The law should govern one’s guilt or innocence, not an opposing attorney or judge’s personal hatred for people who they feel do not show respect or appreciation for churches or other religious establishments.


The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for more than a decade and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.

Additional Source:Duo arrested in church air conditioner thefts in Putnam County, Dan Scanlan, The Florida Times-Union