Champaign man not guilty in weapons case

Champaign man not guilty in weapons case

URBANA — A Champaign County jury Wednesday night acquitted a Champaign man of unlawful use of weapons.

Darta Bishop, 34, whose last known address was in the 400 block of West Maple Street, had been charged with three counts of unlawful use or possession of weapons alleging that on Oct. 5, he had guns in a home in the 500 block of South New Street in Champaign.

Testimony at the trial before Judge Harry Clem was that Champaign police were watching the home in order to search for evidence that its occupant, Phyllis Frazier, 44, was taking financial advantage of a relative. In watching the residence, Champaign police Detective Pat Kelly said he saw Bishop coming and going for several days.

Frazier was subsequently charged with financial exploitation of an elderly person and aggravated identity theft.

Assistant State's Attorney Duke Harris said when police did conduct the search, they found two handguns under a mattress and six long guns on a closet shelf in a room where Bishop had been watching television.

Bishop's attorney, Alfred Ivy, argued that Bishop didn't live in the house. No fingerprints were found on any of the weapons and Harris said DNA taken off two of the guns showed that more than one person had touched them.

Bishop, who is on parole for armed robbery out of Milwaukee, faces an unrelated charge of residential burglary that allegedly happened at an Urbana home in February. He is scheduled to be back in court on that case next month.

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