DeLand, FL - A career criminal with nine felony convictions at the age of 21 could spend the rest of his life in prison. Jaquez Smith was convicted yesterday (April 7) on a charge of Principal to Armed Burglary. Because of his criminal history, Smith is a Prison Release Reoffender. That means he qualifies for an enhanced sentence - the break-in at a DeBary gun store in July 2018 was committed within a 3-year window after his release from prison.
Following the conviction, State Attorney R.J. Larizza said, “We are fortunate that the defendants were caught and 17 firearms recovered. You can bet those firearms would have been put on the street and used for criminal activities. The defendant is a career criminal with nine prior felony convictions. He will spend the rest of his life in prison.”
Sheriff Michael Chitwood had this to say following the conviction, “There’s no doubt the guns stolen in this brazen case would have been used to hurt or kill someone. I’m just grateful no innocent person was shot during the break-in, and I’m thankful for all the hard work and follow-up that led to this conviction today. All other criminals thinking about coming to Volusia County to victimize our residents or our businesses need to think about the consequences waiting for you when you get caught.”
Assistant State Attorney Jeanne Stratis, of the State Attorney’s Career Criminal Unit, prosecuted the case. Circuit Judge Dawn Nichols presided over the case and will pronounce sentence at a later date.