Judge tells twice-convicted home invader to ‘find another line of work,’ suggests McDonald’s job instead of crime

Published 1:04 pm Wednesday, December 9, 2020

CASSOPOLIS — A habitual burglar already in prison for home invasion will stay in prison longer now after being sentenced Friday in Cass County Circuit Court for another home invasion

Charles Eugene Followell, 38, pleaded guilty to second-degree home invasion and conspiracy to commit second-degree home invasion as a habitual offender and was sentenced to two years to 22 and a half years in prison with credit for 511 days already served. He must pay $1,516 in fines and costs and $5,328.93 in restitution.

Cass County Circuit Judge Mark Herman said Followell has nine felony convictions, mostly for burglaries.

“As bad as you are at it, you should find another line of work,” he said. “You’d be better off working at McDonald’s than doing this.”

The incident occurred on January 11, 2018, at a residence on County Line Road near Magician Lake in the Dowagiac area.

Police caught Followell’s nephew, Nicholas Followell, and he connected his uncle and another person to the crime. The younger Followell was sentenced last year to probation.

In the earlier Hillsdale County case, Charles Followell was sentenced Jan. 22, 2018, to one year, 11 months in prison for attempted home invasion from a 2016 incident there.

Cass County Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Hubbert said this was not Followell’s “first rodeo” with the criminal justice system.

“This behavior has to stop,” he said.

Defense attorney Robert Drake said his client has stepped up to plead in this case as well as other burglary related cases in other counties.

“He did give up a substantial right and opportunity when he gave up the right to trial,” he said. “It’s not just convenience, he wants to get these cases behind him and do something different with his life.”

Judge Herman noted that he had not been inclined to accept the two years in prison plea agreement initially but changed his view after seeing that Followell has made efforts in prison to complete programs and make changes in his life.