Covering Kentucky

Feb 8, 2013 5:10 PM

Man Sentenced to Wear Sign Outside Church Back In Jail; Wife Standing By Him

It was a lesson that some say apparently didn't sink in for one Kentucky man. Earlier this month, a judge ordered James Nickell to choose between going to jail or wearing a sign proclaiming his crime outside a church. He chose the sign, but now he's back in jail.

It seems everyone has an opinion about James Nickell's ununsual punishment to wear a sign that says "I Stole From This Church" outside the church where it happened. But James Nickell's wife, Jennifer Nickell, says people are rushing to judgement.

"It's been horrible to have to watch him," says Nickell.

She says her husband wanted to wear the sign and attend services after he stole guitars from the First Baptist Church on Route 7 Mitchell Street in Sandy Hook.

"He went to church two to three weeks before he had to do the sign, and he wanted to change. He wanted to be saved," says Jennifer Nickell.

She says he took District Judge Rupert Wilhoit's offer wholeheartedly.

"He went out there, and it changed him. It really did. If you could have seen it. He wanted to keep going [to church] after," says Jennifer.

But her husband, James, is back in jail without bond for alleged theft of under $500 from a house.

"Just because the law said that, it ain't what happened," says Jennifer Nickell, who believes her husband, and said he shared privately with her what happened.

But this time James Nickell didn't get a choice other than jail, and the 23-year-old was booked January 31st.

Kayla Lykins says he stole a tool from her relative's house, and she has no sympathy.

"Yeah he did, and he really doesn't need to be doing that stuff," says Lykins.

James Nickell refused an interview from the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center in Johnson County. Meanwhile, Jennifer is standing by her man.

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