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Man sentenced to 'go to church' is behind bars once again

He admitted he stole from a church and agreed to attend services there as part of his sentence.

But police say that didn't keep an eastern Kentucky man out of trouble.

They arrested James Nickell in Elliott County on another theft charge not long after he attended a service at the church.

After James Nickell admitted to stealing from the First Baptist Church in Sandy Hook, the judge made an untraditional move by letting Nickell pick his punishment.

His choices were to repent publicly and go to church for six weeks or spend a year behind bars.

Nickell chose church.

On Thursday, we caught up with Nickell's wife, Jennifer, to hear if she thought the punishment fit the crime.

“He was trying to change and he still is. He is a good person. He went to the church and we went willingly to the church,” Jennifer told us.

Nickell was sentenced to walk down the sidewalk in front of the church wearing a sign around his neck that read, “I stole from this church.”

To make matters worse, the church is right across the street from Nickell’s home.

“It was humiliating for him. It would be hard for anyone to have to get out with a big sign that says what you did wrong when people don't know the whole story.”

But it seems Nickell didn't learn his lesson.

Not long after one of his Sunday’s stints, Nickell was arrested again on theft charges.

Jennifer believes this will be the last time Nickell commits and crime and hopes to move away with him when he gets out of jail.

But the second time around, Nickell might not get the chance to choose his punishment.

Deputies with the Elliott County Sheriff's Office say Nickell was most recently charged with theft by unlawful taking under 500 dollars.


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