By Lerone Graham and Andy Bitter
Virginia Tech kicker Cody Journell and two other Blacksburg men charged with breaking into the home of a Hokies basketball player were returned to jail Thursday night after a Montgomery County judge denied them bond.
Journell, 20, Matthew D. Dunton, 23, and Matthew I. Brady, 21, are accused of entering the house of Dorenzo Hudson and Sean Allen with a weapon, with the intent to commit larceny, assault and battery, or another felony, according to warrants. Hudson, a starter on the men's basketball team, played in Thursday night's game against Eastern Michigan.
The three suspects showed up at Hudson and Allen's residence about 10 p.m. Wednesday because they said Allen stole marijuana from Dunton, Chief Deputy Montgomery County Commonwealth's Attorney Mary Pettitt said in court Thursday.
Dunton knocked on the door holding a pizza box while Journell and Brady hid in the bushes, Pettitt said. When Hudson answered, Dunton drew a gun while the other two rushed inside the house, she said.
When they didn't find Allen, they ran outside and left in a car driven by an unnamed person, who was not charged, Pettitt said. The driver was told to speed off, and the gun was thrown out of the window and found by police Thursday, she said.
Prosecution and defense said Hudson and Allen later went looking for the three, and an altercation took place, but no charges have been filed in that incident. Dunton appeared in court wearing a head bandage and had a visible injury to his face.
When arrested, Dunton was found with a marijuana grinder, a small pipe and $2,349 in cash, Pettitt said.
Evidence showed the gun used appeared to be an air-pressure-powered Airsoft handgun, so the weapon charge could be reduced. Authorities have not confirmed the gun's type, and it was missing a marking that distinguishes it from an actual firearm, Pettitt said.
"Whether or not it's a deadly weapon, certainly their actions were as such that it could have ended in some horrendous consequences," the prosecutor said.
Montgomery County General District Court Judge Randall Duncan expressed concern about the use of a gun, real or not, to enter someone's home and noted it could have turned deadly.
While attorneys for Journell and Brady argued for leniency, saying there was no evidence the two men had knowledge of a gun, Duncan opted to "treat them all the same" and denied bond to all three.
They are being held at the Montgomery County Jail.
Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker said school records show Brady is enrolled at the university and Dunton isn't.
Brady's attorney voiced his desire not to delay the bond hearing because Christmas is Sunday. At that point, Brady broke down in tears, to which Duncan responded that "crying is not going to help you" and told him to allow his attorney to speak for him.
Parents of the three defendants were brought forward to attest to facts about their sons' employment, residence and legal history, and all pledged to put their houses up to secure bail should it be granted.
Among the parents was Randy Dunton, the former Liberty University men's basketball coach.
Journell was All-ACC honorable mention this fall.
Tech athletic director Jim Weaver said in an email that Journell is suspended indefinitely from the football team in accordance with university policy.