Virginia Tech place kicker Cody Journell was denied bail Thursday afternoon during a preliminary hearing in Montgomery General District Court in Christiansburg, Va., after he was charged and arrested Wednesday night with breaking and entering following an alleged home invasion at the residence of Virginia Tech basketball player Dorenzo Hudson.
Journell, a 20-year-old redshirt sophomore, has been charged with a class 2 felony because one of the men allegedly used a dangerous weapon, which a prosecutor testified in court was a handgun of some kind. He faces a minimum of 20 years in prison. Also arrested in the incident were Virginia Tech student Matthew Brady, 21, and Matthew Dunton, 23, the son of former Liberty men’s basketball coach Randy Dunton.
Journell is accused of breaking and entering into the home of Hudson and Sean Allen with the intent to commit larceny, assault and battery or another felony after police responded to a report of a physical altercation around 10 p.m. Wednesday at a house on Lee Street near downtown Blacksburg. According to the arrest warrants filed in court, Journell, Brady and Dunton broke into the Hudson and Allen’s home “over some sort of drug transaction.”
Virginia Tech Athletic Director Jim Weaver said Thursday that Journell has been “immediately suspended indefinitely from the football team,” according to University Policy 1035. It states that any Virginia Tech student-athlete charged with a felony must be indefinitely suspended until the case is dropped, dismissed or resolved. If Journell is found guilty of the felony charge, he would be immediately kicked off the football team.
In court testimony Thursday, Montgomery County Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Mary Pettitt said Dunton allegedly approached Hudson’s house Wednesday night holding a pizza box and knocked on the door in search of Allen. When Hudson answered, Dunton allegedly pulled out a black handgun while Brady and Journell charged into the residence.
Pettitt said Dunton suspected Allen had stolen a large amount of marijuana from him. An independent witness told police that Journell and Brady hid in the bushes until Dunton knocked on the door. When they couldn’t find Allen in the house, all three then fled the scene in an unidentified vehicle with a driver who is not known.
Investigators recovered the weapon Thursday morning, but have been unable to confirm whether it is a deadly weapon or an airsoft gun, which shoots pellets. Police also found a small amount of marijuana and paraphernalia on Dunton.
“Whether or not it’s a deadly weapon, certainly the actions could’ve ended up with horrendous consequences,” Pettitt told the court.
Journell’s attorney, Brian Scheid, argued that Journell be given leniency since there was no evidence he had knowledge of the gun, but Judge Randall Duncan decided to “treat them all the same” and did not grant bail to any of the three defendants due to the possibility this incident could have escalated with the presence of a gun.
Both sides acknowledged that Hudson and Allen later found the three defendants and another altercation ensued. No charges have been filed, but Dunton appeared in court with his head bandaged. Blacksburg police Lt. Steve Taylor said Thursday morning that “there is a possibility additional charges and additional arrests are coming.”
Journell had performed well in his first season as Virginia Tech’s starting place kicker. An honorable mention all-ACC selection, he made 14 of his 17 field goals this year. In his place at next month’s Sugar Bowl, the Hokies could either turn to Murray State transfer Tyler Weiss or senior Justin Myer. Those two are a combined 0 for 3 on field goal attempts this year.
Hudson, a redshirt senior, is the second-leading scorer on the Virginia Tech men’s basketball team this year. He’s averaging 11.6 points per game after missing much of last season because of a foot injury.
Update, 11:55 p.m.: Hudson was in the starting lineup for Thursday night’s game against Eastern Michigan at Casell Coliseum. He played 22 minutes and finished with eight points in the Hokies’ 71-50 victory. After the game, Virginia Tech did not make any players available to the media.
“Dorenzo Hudson was not charged with anything and he’s a member of good standing with our basketball team,” Hokies basketball Coach Seth Greenberg said during a tense postgame news conference.