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UPDATE: Church Walking Suspect Makes Court Appearance on Latest Charge

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 2/14/13 @ 2:30 p.m.
SANDY HOOK, Ky. (WSAZ) -- The young man who made headlines for allegedly stealing from a church remains in jail on a second alleged theft charge following a hearing Thursday morning.

23-year-old James Talbot Nickell, of Sandy Hook, was originally arrested in December after stealing musical equipment from a church in Sandy Hook, Ky. As part of a plea deal, Nickell was given the option to go to jail for a year or walk in front of the church with a sign that said "I Stole from this Church" around his neck for six weeks. The option also included attending church services during that time.

Nickell chose church over jail. But, he completed only a portion of his sentence before being arrested again.

The Elliott County Sheriff says that after one of his Sunday stints last month, Nickell committed another crime. He was arrested and charged a felony count of theft by unlawful taking over $500.

Thursday, a preliminary hearing was held on that latest theft charge. Following the hearing, the case was sent to the next Elliott County Grand Jury. Nickell's bond was set at $10,000 cash.



UPDATE 2/7/13 @ 1 p.m.
SANDY HOOK, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A man who was sentenced to church for stealing musical equipment from the church, was back in court Thursday.

James Talbot Nickell was originally arrested in December after stealing musical equipment from a church in Sandy Hook, Ky. He was given the option to go to jail for a year or walk in front of the church with a sign that said "I Stole from this Church" around his neck for six weeks. The option also included attending church services during that time.

Nickell chose church over jail. But, he completed only a portion of his sentence before being arrested again.

The Elliott County Sheriff says that after one of his Sunday stints, Nickell committed another crime. He was arrested and charged a felony count of theft by unlawful taking over $500.

Thursday Nickell was arraigned on the charge. A preliminary hearing was set for next week, as well as a revocation hearing on the previous charges.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 1/31/13 @ 1 p.m.
SANDY HOOK, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A man who was given an option of spending time in church or behind jail bars now doesn't have a choice.

James Talbot Nickell, 23, of Sandy Hook, was originally arrested for stealing amps and guitars from the First Baptist Church of Sandy Hook in December.

A plea deal was worked out and he was given the option of spending a year in jail, or six weeks at church. The church option included wearing a sign that said, "I stole from this church" before and after services. He also had to attend the church services.

That was the option that Nickell chose and he started his sentence on January 13.

But now, that sentence has been suspended.

The Elliott County Sheriff's Office says James Talbot Nickell was arrested on Thursday on a count of theft by unlawful taking of over $500. He was picked up at his home in Sandy Hook.

The Sheriff's Office says after walking in front of the church with his sign on January 20, Nickell committed another crime.

At this time, they are not releasing what Nickell allegedly stole, but say they have recovered it and it was worth more than $500.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



ORIGINAL STORY 1/30/13
SANDY HOOK, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Church or Jail? That was the punishment choice a young man was given after he was arrested and charged with stealing musical instruments from a church.

James Talbot Nickell, 23, of Sandy Hook, chose church as his punishment as part of a plea deal, according to the Elliott County Sheriff.

The Sheriff’s Office says Nickell was arrested after he stole several guitars and amps from the First Baptist Church in Sandy Hook on December 8. Investigators say the stolen items were found in his closet a short time later. Nickell was charged with two counts of receiving stolen property after his arrest.

On December 20, Nickell was offered a plea deal during a hearing in Elliott County District Court. He could either spend 12 months in jail or attend Sunday services at the church for six weeks. That punishment also included walking in front of the church an hour before services, and an hour after services wearing a sign saying “I stole from this church.” The Sheriff says he, Nickell's attorney, the prosecuting attorney and judge all came up with that option as punishment.

Nickell made his first church appearance on Sunday, January 13 under the watchful eye of the Sheriff.

His six-week sentence should end after services on February 17.


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