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.