Two men who at one point each passed along a stolen gun that was eventually ended up in the hands of a felon who killed a Clay County Sheriff’s deputy were both sentenced to seven years in prison last week. Robert Apple II and Jack Lemond both pleaded guilty to dealing in stolen property, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Two other men have the same charges pending, the newspaper reported. Dealing in stolen property in Clay County is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Police said the .38-caliber pistol was stolen in Jacksonville in 2011 and was passed along by four different men in the next year, eventually making its way to Ted Tilley, the newspaper reported. Tilley, a convicted felon, used the stolen gun to shoot and kill detective David White during a raid on a meth lab in 2012, the newspaper reported. Tilley also wounded another deputy with the gun before police shot and killed him. The four men involved in this Clay County Gun charge are among a total of eight people who have been charged since White’s death. Three adults in the Clay County home at the time of the raid have been charged with murder, attempted murder and trafficking in methamphetamines, the newspaper reported. A juvenile in the home, 16 at the time, was also charged with third-degree murder in the Clay County Gun Crimes case. Prosecutors have been extremely aggressive in this case, charging everyone they can in connection to the death. The key in the Clay County Theft case involving dealing in stolen property is knowledge of the property being stolen. State law says that someone who either knew or should have known the property was stolen can be charged with dealing in stolen property. In this case, police have said all four men knew the gun was stolen. Two have pleaded guilty and it remains to be seen if the other two choose a similar path.
Now that the sentencing standard has been set in this Clay County Theft Case with Apple and Lemond, it will be interesting to see if the two remaining men end up pleading guilty as well. Typically, sentences are longer after a trial than they are if the person admits guilt and pleads guilty to the charges. All defendants have a right to a trial, but the price of a trial can be expensive in terms of a sentence. It is highly unlikely that a judge will give a lower sentence to someone who takes a case to trial than he or she gave to someone who pleaded guilty.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Clay County or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Clay County Theft Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.