Man sentenced to 20 years in prison for incident at Centennial Park

Man sentenced to 20 years in prison for incident at Centennial Park

URBANA — A man who police said had a loaded gun in a backpack at a Champaign park in August 2011 has been sentenced to spend the next two decades in prison.

On Thursday, Judge Harry Clem sentenced Keith Roberson, 27, who listed an address in the 1300 block of Williamsburg Drive, Champaign, to 20 years in prison following his conviction for armed habitual criminal.

Roberson will receive credit for 298 days he has already served in jail, according to Champaign County Assistant States Attorney Sarah Carlson.

Robertson pleaded guilty on April 23 to one charge of armed habitual criminal in connection with an incident at Centennial Park on Aug. 2, 2011.

According to a police report, an officer saw Roberson in Centennial Park near the corner of Country Fair Drive and John Street at about 7:50 p.m. that day.

Knowing that Roberson was wanted on a felony warrant, the officer tried to stop him. The report said Roberson ran, dropping a backpack along the way. Police caught him and found a loaded gun in the backpack.

Because of the loaded gun and two prior drug-related felony convictions, Roberson was charged with being an armed habitual criminal.

The warrant for which he was wanted also charged him with being an armed habitual criminal and aggravated discharge of a firearm for allegedly shooting a gun at a home in the 1100 block of Dorsey Drive in Champaign on April 29, 2011.

As part of a plea agreement, the charge for the earlier incident was dismissed.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
doglvr wrote on May 25, 2012 at 11:05 am

20 years seems excessive for minor drug crimes and possession of a gun, while there are murderers still running loose on the streets, how about the punishment fitting the crime? or is that and outdated concept?  this whole "lock em up and throw away the key" attitude doesn't really make any sense when the person hasn't hurt anybody.

stick to locking up violent offenders and leave the poor druggies alone

ronaldo wrote on May 25, 2012 at 9:05 pm

I think you missed the part about "habitual".  Maybe comprehending that would have made things clearer.

Marti Wilkinson wrote on May 28, 2012 at 9:05 pm

I understand that the sentencing was harsher because of his criminal history. However, I can't help but compare this to the story of the Homer resident who sexually abused a disabled woman in his care, and got probation.

Drop a backpack with a loaded gun, combine that with a criminal history, and the guy gets twenty years. According to the article the prior charges included drug offenses and one weapons offense for firing off a gun at Dorsey Homes. Drug offenses can be addressed with drug court, and if he didn't harm anyone with the gun, I think that could be considered in sentencing.

A 50 year old guy sexually abuses a disabled woman in his care, and he gets two years probation, because the judge didn't want to jeopardize his employment, or cause stress to his family. Depending on the disability, this woman may not have been in a position to defend herself. What about the family of the woman he abused? The fact that this abuse took place while he was a paid caretaker, indicates that she couldn't defend herself, and that bothers me.




rsp wrote on May 29, 2012 at 3:05 am

It makes a difference that one was wanted on a warrant before he was arrested and satt in jail while his case was pending. The other guy I'll bet was working and "showing" that his family needed him.

There are cases in juvenile court where the parents just don't come to court. What do you think happens to the kids versus the ones whose parents show up? There are families who start with the "if you're grown enough to get in trouble you're grown enough to take care of it on your own". The judge sees no family, thinks if they don't even want you,  you must really be bad. It's a self-fulfilling prophesy. 

Judges have guidelines and prejudices to follow. If someone was carrying a gun, drug crimes, if they have a job. How long they have been sitting in jail. How many times they have been to jail versus how much time outside out of jail. Sexual crimes against women and children are not usually taken that seriously.

love wrote on May 26, 2012 at 11:05 am

That's the problem ignorant people that are so quick to pass judgment we have a little boy together he is a great father and a loving spouse would give the world for us you guys know nothing about him not all men that go to prison are bad people know the circumstances behind the situation before you pass judgement.

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 27, 2012 at 4:05 pm

They are "bad people" if they are convicted of their crimes.  They are felons; and should not be allowed to have a gun.  I am sorry about your family member; but laws exist to protect the public from criminals.

jdmac44 wrote on May 03, 2013 at 8:05 am

I wonder how many other armed criminals are out there sharing the sidewalks with us in spite of there being no concealed carry law in Illinois?