The felon accused in last week’s armed robbery at the DeBary Burger King has a violent criminal past, both as a juvenile and an adult, records show.
Mathew H. Juan, 32, is being held on $150,000 bond at the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach.
Juan was arrested minutes after Wednesday’s robbery and faces charges of robbery with a firearm/deadly weapon and false imprisonment.
Records show Juan served more than three years in state prison before he was released in December 2012.
He was adjudicated guilty in Volusia County in 2007 after pleading no contest to charges of aggravated battery and aggravated assault.
Juan was accused of attacking his wife’s brother with a baseball bat in Edgewater.
He was placed on probation in 2007 case but was charged the following year for violating his probation. That was for his arrest on a misdemeanor domestic-violence charge.
Details of that case weren’t immediately available. However, his wife testified during a hearing that Juan placed his hand over her mouth while they were arguing. She said she couldn’t breathe and she bit his hand. Neighbors realized they were fighting and called police.
At that hearing, a prosecutor said Juan had an extensive juvenile arrest record, including arrests for criminal mischief, aggravated assault/battery, carrying a concealed weapon and possession
of alcohol by a person less than 21.
The hearing was a day before Juan’s 24th birthday.
During her testimony, his wife defended Juan saying his violence in both cases — the baseball-bat attack and the domestic-violence incident — were caused by Xanax (alprazolam).
He took the anti-anxiety drug because of depression following a friend’s murder, she testified.
But sedative made him violent, she added. She begged a judge to keep him out of prison so he could get treatment and help raise their then 2-year-old child.
A different judge later sentenced Juan to five years in prison with credit for 153 days in jail and five years of probation.
Letter to judge
He entered the state prison system in March 2009 and left in December 2012.
In December 2015, Juan sent a letter to a Volusia County judge, seeking early termination of his probation. Juan, then an Orlando resident, said he hadn’t gotten in trouble and he was following all of the court orders.
He said he wanted to go to France to meet his in-laws. His wife, who wasn’t named in the letter, was the love of his life. And they were expecting a child, he wrote.
He started a successful business, bought his first home and had never before felt so happy and blessed.
The judge terminated the probation the following month.
Burger King robbery
In the most recent case, deputies were called to the Burger King at 11:33 a.m. June 21
“Witnesses told responding deputies a male suspect displayed a gun, robbed the employees at two registers and ran out with cash,” the Sheriff’s Office said. The robber fled into nearby woods.
A silver Ford SUV later took off out of those same woods.
“At 11:46 a.m., an Orange City police officer spotted the suspect vehicle in the area of Saxon Boulevard and Threadgill Place in Orange City and conducted a traffic stop,” the Sheriff’s Office said.
2 witnesses ID suspect
Deputies responded to the scene with two witnesses who identified Juan as the suspect. Deputies said they think he was homeless.
“Deputies also recovered cash from the wooded area near the Burger King where the SUV had been parked,” the Sheriff’s Office report said. “At the scene of the traffic stop, deputies noticed a piece greenery stuck to the back of the vehicle, as if it had been recently parked amid some brush and vegetation.”
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