Matt Pitt’s probation revokedPublished 12:20pm Tuesday, October 15, 2013
By STEPHANIE BRUMFIELD / Staff Writer
COLUMBIANA – A youth minister who pleaded guilty to impersonating a peace officer in Shelby County last September has had his probation revoked Oct. 15 after allegedly committing the same crime in June.
Larry Matthew Pitt, founder of the Birmingham-based ministry The Basement, was arrested Aug. 20 after allegedly impersonating a police officer in Jefferson County June 15 and allegedly violating his probation. Pitt has been held in the Shelby County Jail since August.
On the initial charge in Shelby County, Pitt was originally charged with impersonating a police officer, a felony, though the felony charge was later reduced to a misdemeanor charge of attempting to impersonate a peace officer. Pitt was sentenced to two years of probation and fined $1,000 after pleading guilty.
In a probation hearing before Judge Dan Reeves Oct. 15, Shelby County District Attorney Robby Owens asked Judge Dan Reeves to take into account previous hearings when deciding the sentence. After four witness testimonies, Owens said there was “very little conclusion (left) for the court,” and it was more a matter of the court deciding how much of the probation to revoke.
“The state requests a full revocation,” he said.
In his closing argument, Owens said law enforcement objected “severely” to his decision to downgrade the initial charge from a felony to a misdemeanor in 2012.
“When (Pitt) started (The Basement), he started out small with all the right purposes in mind, and I thought that was a good thing and I thought he deserved credit for that,” Owens said of his decision to downgrade the charge. “Somewhere along the way, he has lost touch with the ministry … and he had to do the exact same thing again, for which there is no excuse.”
Reeves said Pitt’s bond was revoked and reinstated the original sentence. After the hearing, Pitt returned to the Shelby County Jail after the hearing to serve 10 months, or the remainder of his one-year sentence.