Man gets six years for stealing vodka

Man gets six years for stealing vodka

URBANA — A Danville man with a lengthy criminal history was sentenced Wednesday to six years and eight months in prison for stealing vodka from a Champaign store.

Marcus Merriweather, 44, who listed an address in the 300 block of North Bowman Avenue, pleaded guilty in October to burglary, admitting that he entered the County Market, 331 E. Stoughton St., on June 25, intending to steal the vodka. Assistant State's Attorney Stephanie Weber sought a prison sentence for Merriweather, who had multiple prior convictions for driving under the influence and under revocation, possession of a controlled substance and cannabis, criminal trespass to residence, battery and criminal damage to property.

She argued that Merriweather had never been sent to prison and was serving three sentences of probation at the time of his arrest for the vodka theft.

In imposing the prison sentence, Champaign County Judge Tom Difanis took a swipe at Vermilion County justice officials for not doling out harsher sentences for Merriweather over the years.

"It's like a parallel system of justice," he said of Vermilion County. "They did him no favors. He kept getting passes over and over and over again despite his criminal history."

In other court cases recently resolved in Champaign County:

— Giau Phan, 20, who listed an address on Quince Drive in Champaign, was sentenced to two years of probation after pleading guilty to aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

Phan will have to register as a sex offender for life after admitting to Judge Heidi Ladd that he committed a sex act on June 7 with a teen-age girl in Champaign.

Six other counts of predatory criminal sexual assault and one each of aggravated criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse were dismissed in return for his plea.

Assistant State's Attorney Adam Dill said the victim and her family had proposed the sentence for Phan, whom they knew. He was ordered to have no contact with her. He'll have to remain in jail until a March 5 hearing to confirm the plea, which Ladd will review after receiving a sex offender evaluation on Phan.

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billbtri5 wrote on January 19, 2012 at 9:01 am

amazing  you can steal thousands of dollars worth of rent from a londlord and the government is on your side,  take a bottle of vodka and you are up the river...

billbtri5 wrote on January 19, 2012 at 9:01 am

amazing  you can steal thousands of dollars worth of rent from a landlord and the government is on your side,  take a bottle of vodka and you are up the river...

scollins4443 wrote on January 19, 2012 at 10:01 am
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This sounds like a lost soul to me. He has a drinking problem that got him into trouble. Mr Difanis, you should get him help and prison isn't the answer. Is that why our government spend more money on prison than the government spends on rehabilitation? Is that why someone can rob a bank and get about the same amount of time this man got? I have seen people embezzel thousands of dollars and got less time than that. From what I read, "he entered the store to attempt to steal the vodka." Did he actually steal it or was he being pressured to say what his intents were? Is it that they couldn't catch him before and they did this time entering County Market? Is that why he got the sentence because of his past crimes? That's not justice, it's taking his past and convicting him and that is prejudicial in any court of law. That's double jeopardy in the best case senerio. Get the man some help! Also Mr. Difanis, don't judge the other jurisdictions for what they done to this man because they knew he isn't a threat to society like other hardened criminals , just a drunk. Criminal is a catch-all word to use because the C. J. System uses it because you seperate the rest of the citizen from yourself. Look at the other story on this page, two years probation as a sexual preditor and he's not a hardened sexual deviate! Look at your judgement here instead of Vermilion County's.

Trojan wrote on January 19, 2012 at 10:01 am

Excuse me - but how this could be downgraded to TWO years of PROBATION???

Either the initial story was a ridiculous exaturation, or there is no justcie in Champaign county.

Isn't this the place where a guy was sent to prison for 12 years for ALLEGEDLY touching a 15-year girl?

Champaign man held in sexual assault caseThu, 07/28/2011 - 5:26pm | Mary Schenk, staff writer,

URBANA — A Champaign man accused of sexually molesting a young girl on several occasions since 2009 is being held in lieu of $500,000 bond in the Champaign County jail.

Giau Phan, 20, who listed an address on Quince Drive, was charged Thursday with six counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child; one count of aggravated criminal sexual assault; and two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. All but the last two are Class X felonies, the most serious of which carry a six to 60-year prison term upon conviction.

Early this month, the 13-year-old victim and her parents reported to Champaign police that she was receiving inappropriate text messages on her phone.

After investigating, police learned that the girl had been the victim of several unwanted sexual acts by Phan since October 2009.

The encounters allegedly occurred at both his home and hers, according to Assistant State's Attorney Sarah Carlson, On June 7, Phan reportedly sent a cab for the girl to bring her to his home and threatened to harm her if she told anyone. The girl sustained physical injuries from a sex act that day, Carlson said.

When confronted by police, Phan reportedly said the victim was "crazy" and was making up the story. Police obtained records from the cab company that corroborated the girl's statements, Carlson said.

Phan was ordered to have no contact with the girl and to be back in court Aug. 11.