Man sentenced to 30 years in prison for residential burglary

Man sentenced to 30 years in prison for residential burglary

URBANA — A Champaign man whose DNA was found at a crime scene has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for residential burglary.

On Wednesday, Judge Tom Difanis sentenced Nicholas James, 26, who listed an address in the 2800 block of Campbell Drive, Champaign, to 30 years of prison.

James will receive credit for 173 days he has already served.

On April 18, a Champaign County jury found James guilty of breaking into a home in the 2600 block of Wellington Drive on Dec. 16, 2010.

Assistant State's Attorney Stephanie Weber said a 32-year-old woman who lived there testified that she was away from her home and returned home early on Dec. 17 and noticed some Christmas presents partially unwrapped.

Suspecting her dog may have been responsible, she went in the bedroom but found the dog under the bed and the window, which had been locked, open. Looking further, she found other gifts and three laptop computers missing.

Police found a smudged handprint on the open window and footprints in the snow outside the open window but nothing of a good enough quality from which to draw any comparisons. They also found a cigarette butt on the top of the snow near the open window.

The state crime lab ran tests on it and found the DNA on the butt matched that of James, who had previous convictions for residential burglary, delivery of a controlled substance and obstructing justice. The prior convictions meant his DNA would have been on file in the state's DNA database.

Weber said Champaign police investigator Dale Rawdin learned of the match in March 2011 and interviewed James.

James told Rawdin that he didn't go in the house but was there at the request of an acquaintance he knew from his neighborhood only as "D" who asked him to watch out for police.

Weber said none of the woman's property was ever recovered.

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areader wrote on May 30, 2012 at 6:05 pm

General question - why do REPEAT criminals who have already spent time in prison get "days off" their new jail term?  I see this all the time! Repeat criminals should not have days served subtracted from the new prison term because they're REPEAT CRIMINALS!  In other words, they obviously didn't learn their lesson the first time!  Does this bother anyone else?

serf wrote on May 30, 2012 at 7:05 pm

I think you are misunderstood.  He's getting the time he has already spent in jail awaiting trial credited toward his prison sentence.  I think that's reasonable.  Plus the dude got 30 years, don't get mad over 100 days or so.

rsp wrote on May 30, 2012 at 7:05 pm

The 173 days he already spent in jail? Because he didn't have to be there. It has nothing to do with him being a repeat offender. If he paid a bond to get out of jail he wouldn't have served those days yet. So someone who is poor and couldn't afford bond would otherwise end up serving extra time just because they happen to be poor. As far as getting days taken off while in prison, except for credit for classes or programs there isn't any time off for "good time" like there used to be. It's just the guidelines, some are at 50%, some at 85%, and then 100%. It's based on the crime.