Florida Man Caught After Crashing $1 Million Yacht and Faces 30 Years In Prison

There is an interesting charge out of Florida where Donovan Russell Jester stole and crashed a roughly $1 million yacht.  He apparently lived on the boat for three months. He was charged with the grand theft vessel. What is interesting is that this crime comes with a potential 30 year sentence. Jester stole the 46-foot Jeanneau Leader ( a model advertised as a boat that will “seduce you with her contemporary spirit”) in St. Petersburg, Florida.  Three months later, he crashed it into channel-marker pilings. It floated into some oyster beds.  It does not sound like, even after three months, Jester left much incriminating evidence: he was identified off a thumb print on the cabin door.

I was surprised by the length of such a potential sentence.  However, the crime in the first degree for grand theft is found at § 812.014

(1) A person commits theft if he or she knowingly obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or to use, the property of another with intent to, either temporarily or permanently:

(a) Deprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property.

(b) Appropriate the property to his or her own use or to the use of any person not entitled to the use of the property.

(2)(a) 1. If the property stolen is valued at $100,000 or more or is a semitrailer that was deployed by a law enforcement officer;  or

2. If the property stolen is cargo valued at $50,000 or more that has entered the stream of interstate or intrastate commerce from the shipper’s loading platform to the consignee’s receiving dock;  or

3. If the offender commits any grand theft and:

a. In the course of committing the offense the offender uses a motor vehicle as an instrumentality, other than merely as a getaway vehicle, to assist in committing the offense and thereby damages the real property of another;  or

b. In the course of committing the offense the offender causes damage to the real or personal property of another in excess of $1,000,

the offender commits grand theft in the first degree, punishable as a felony of the first degree, as provided in s. 775.082 s. 775.083 , or s. 775.084 .

Obviously, theft was the boat meant that it was used as a getaway vehicle. However, by taking the boat it, Jester would be committing other crimes, including crashing the boat and abandoning it.  He also caused “damage to real or personal property in excess of $1000.”  What is interesting to me is that many forms of grand theft, like grand theft auto, result in damage of more than $1000.  Just denting a stolen car can rack up such a bill and trigger this higher sentencing range.

Of course, taking property and living on it for months would seem a particularly egregious form of grand theft.

It is the peril that Hamlet warned of any jester who departs from “what is set down”: “That’s villainous, and shows a most pitiful ambition in the fool.”


24 thoughts on “Florida Man Caught After Crashing $1 Million Yacht and Faces 30 Years In Prison”

  1. Sure this guy is a d@@b a@@, how do you expect to get away with such a crime?

    But if I put on a mask, loot and destroy businesses, I am praised as a hero and freedom fighter.


    1. https://twitter.com/Project_Veritas/status/1276187817631191040?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet

      FB discriminates against white male employees. Hear it from an HR workers. Amazing this is legal. Start a civil rights inquiry, Mr Barr. Despicable but that’s how a white male billionaire like Zuckerberg protects his empire– by pushing white men below him down into the dirt. This is the racket in a nutshell

      This is why it makes little sense to hate the loudmouth baggy pants protesters. They are just pawns. They were set in motion by money and policies that came from the likes of Zuckerberg, Dorsey, Bezos, and Soros. these are the true enemies of America. Billionaires– nearly every one of them are scum. If there’s any who arent, such as our Great President Trump, who isn’t even a billionaire anymore since he’s gone into public service– but if there are any billionaires who are NOT enemies of America, I want to know their names. Let me know.

      As far as I can tell Ross Perot was also a good one but he’s gone. Ford and Edison were, the Hunt brothers maybe; T Boone Pickens. All dead.
      I am not sure who else. There may be some redeemable human beings at about the half billion level but once they hit a billion, just forget it. It appears to be impossible.

    2. Unless you can provide verifiable evidence that anyone of consequence, anywhere, has praised a masked looter or destroyer of businesses as a hero and a freedom fighter, I am calling you out as the racist arschloch you are!

      1. Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark was a fanboy of violent anarchists

      2. A partial listing of persons who have reportedly received legal counsel and advice from Ramsey Clark includes:

        Lori Berenson, an American convicted of support of MRTA guerrillas in Peru
        Radovan Karadžić, former Bosnian Serb politician. In the 1990s, Clark represented Karadžić in a civil suit brought by Croats and Muslims from the former Yugoslavia who sued Karadžić under the Alien Tort Claims Act of 1789 and Torture Victims Protection Act of 1992 for atrocities and human rights abuses committed during the Bosnian War.
        Nazi concentration camp commandant Karl Linnas
        American Indian Movement prisoner Leonard Peltier
        Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, a leader in the Rwandan genocide
        Palestine Liberation Organization leaders in a lawsuit brought by the family of Leon Klinghoffer, a person murdered during hijacking of the Achille Lauro
        Nazi War criminal Jakob “Jack” Reimer, charged for the killings of Jews in Warsaw
        Liberian dictator Charles Taylor during his 1985 fight against extradition from the United States to Liberia, Taylor would later be convicted of crimes against humanity
        Defense attorney for the three non-shooters (John Wesley Moore, b. 07/04/1975; Donald Antonio White, b. 11/06/1980; Troy White, b. 08/27/1976) tried for the February 7, 2000, murder of Baltimore County (Maryland) Police Officer Bruce Prothero. The three were convicted in two separate jury trials and are currently serving life sentences without the possibility of parole in the Maryland Department of Corrections.
        Pitstop Ploughshares 5 and Mary Kelly charged separately with damaging a US Naval logitics plane in Ireland on eve of Iraq war.

  2. ‘God protects even the stupid.’

    A statement that’s a good example of stupidity.

    1. Why would you say that my comment was stupid? Are you smart enough to even back up your utterences?

  3. he deserves to be flogged and repay a hefty restitution order. 30 years is preposterous

    1. Mr Kurtz – maybe keel-haul him a couple of times to teach him a severe lesson?

      1. Have him sand the yacht, repair the damage to the hull by himself then replace the hull and bottom paint as part of his confinement.

  4. Re: the subject of this piece, I believe this gent stole the yacht, took it on a “joyride”, crashed it into some pilings then abandoned it, all in a short period of time. The sources I read state that he was not, though, APPREHENDED until 3 months after the crime. Just as an FYI….



    Jonathan…..LOVE your stuff, your columns, and your appearances in media. I’m generally conservative, and wish that all liberals were as reasonably-minded as you are. Ok, so I also wish that all ‘conservatives’ were as reasonably-minded as you are 😉

  5. This article would benefit from some careful proofreading, as some of the sentences make no sense as written (or at least as they appear here). I don’t live in the jurisdiction, but I presume there is a great range of sentencing open to the court, in the event that the young man is convicted, and the court will depend on the recommendations of both the prosecution and the defence, and possibly expert testimony in appropriate circumstances.

  6. I just like the idea that he lived on the yacht for 3 months and nobody cottoned to it. The owners deserved to have it grounded.

  7. Burn, destroy, steal peoples property, cause millions in damage? No problem, go right ahead. Tough a yacht, potential 30 for you. It is becoming clearer and clearer that we live in an unjust country. This idiot should have said he was protesting the yacht owners “white privilege”. If this was Seattle, Jenny Durkan would have given him the yacht do to squatters rights.

    1. @jim22

      His claim of “white privilege” would have worked only if he were a POC, SJW or member of the brave masked wonderful warriors of antifa (TM).


  8. Only one fingerprint on the entire boat. Yet they claim he lived on it for three months. Maybe he saw it crashed and simply went aboard to look it over. Not guilty by reason of insanity of the prosecutor.

  9. Again, penal codes are written by lawyers. Lawyers are people who have high levels of verbal agility but cannot do math. The imperative of lawyers in writing laws is either to insert a carve-out for an interest group for which they are carrying water or to insert language which protects the public interest against the pettifogging of other lawyers. Stuff with numbers in it fries their circuits.

    If penal codes were written by accountants or insurance agents, the penalties for property crimes would be determined by formulae for which the arguments would include the value of the property stolen, appropriated through fraud, or destroyed (deflated by nominal income per capita in the jurisdiction in question). Fines, forfeitures, and thresh-holds would also be indexed to nominal income per capita. The failure to do so is another example of lawyers making the world worse. NB, the man who was at one time speaker of the lower house of the Florida legislature was….Marco Rubio.

      1. Mespo, while eating outdoors by the water a drunk man tried to get into his large boat that his friends were in and decided not to do it in the normal way. The friends positioned the boat so that he was able to climb on the railing and then onto the ‘plank’. He made it on and slipped but was able to catch the ‘plank’ so that the lower portion of his body travelled forward towards a large sharp two pointed anchor. Everyone thought he was going to be castrated.

        Surprisingly he survived without injury and was able to get into the boat unharmed. God protects even the stupid.

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