Two charged with Fourth of July murder in Champaign

Two charged with Fourth of July murder in Champaign

URBANA — Champaign police have identified two men wanted for the fatal shooting of a young woman in northwest Champaign on the Fourth of July.

Warrants were issued Thursday charging Anthony L. Meads, 20, of the 200 block of Church Street, Champaign, and Treshaun M. Jake, 19, of the 900 block of East Madison Street, Danville, with the first-degree murder of Desirae Dearmond Austin.

The 20-year-old mother of two children was fatally shot at the intersection of Thornton Drive and Cruising Lane, the apparent victim of crossfire between two groups of men.

The shooting occurred about 10:20 p.m. She was taken to Carle Foundation Hospital, where she was pronounced dead in the emergency room at 11:10 p.m. Lt. Bob Rea said she died of a single gunshot wound to the chest. She was not the intended victim, but Rea declined to say whom Meads and Jake were firing at.

Meads and Jake are currently in the Vermilion County Jail in Danville. They were charged there Thursday with aggravated unlawful use of weapons in an unrelated case and are expected to be returned to Urbana next week.

Judge Jeff Ford issued the warrants for their arrests Thursday, setting bond on each at $1 million.

Rea said the entire police department worked to solve the crime but particularly praised the efforts of detectives Jaceson Yandell and Robb Morris for the many interviews they did to sort out what happened.

Police have expressed frustration throughout the month-long investigation about the lack of cooperation from witnesses.

“I’m still frustrated by the lack of cooperation. There are a lot of people out there who have a lot of information,” said Rea. “I’m still asking for them to come forward. They can remain anonymous. We have Crimestoppers.”

Calls about the case can be directed to the Champaign Police Department at 217-351-4545 or to Crimestoppers at 217-373-8477.

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areader wrote on August 17, 2012 at 11:08 am

Kudos to the law enforcement officials who worked on the case!!! 'Way to go! 

And to the people who are not stepping up . . . get off your butts and help apprehend scumbags and put them behind bars or whatever punishment is fit after committing MAJOR crimes in this area!!!!!!

Residents need to help police officers CLEAN UP C-U!!!



GeneralLeePeeved wrote on August 17, 2012 at 11:08 am

It continues to amaze me that there is no shortage of witnesses when the police do something questionable.......but no witnesses when a crime such as this is committed.  This street code BS regarding "no snitches" has got to end.....until it does, certain neighborhoods will remain as they are.

EL YATIRI wrote on August 18, 2012 at 6:08 am
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I agree with you that it is not good when the police and the community they serve don't trust each other.

To build trust there is a new police chief but he needs time.  Also the community leaders must be involved and work with the police chief.  

Maybe a truce in the politics would be helpful also.  There is no good reason for "law and order" folk to be at loggerheads with minority communites.  Most folk in minority communities are also "law and order" and are eager to have good relations with the police.  

The lack of understanding of what it is like to live in a high crime area is important.  Law abiding people are caught up between the criminals and the police.  So let's stop painting with broad brush and focus on solutions.  The blame game and politics just blocks progress.

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on August 17, 2012 at 12:08 pm
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Two alleged murderers and one deceased mother of two: None old enough to buy beer.




ronaldo wrote on August 17, 2012 at 1:08 pm

"None old enough to buy beer."

...or make sound, common sense decisions.

rsp wrote on August 17, 2012 at 3:08 pm

You failed to notice he included the mother as being under 21. She didn't do anything wrong she was shot. Too often people are commenting without reading. 

Whatdidyoujustsay wrote on August 17, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Thank you, rsp. Because she decided to go outside on July 4th, a young woman's children will grow up without their mother. Desirae Austin's sound, common sense decisions are not at issue here, Ronaldo. Speaking of common sense, what if her killers couldn't purchase ammunition at will? What if pistols and revolvers weren't as plentiful on the street? Thank you, Champaign Police for finding Desirae Austin's killers - or two of them, anyway - and for the gun buyback program. At least, it's a start.

areader wrote on August 17, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Don't start with the  . . . what if the killers could not have purchased ammo.  Killers will GET ammo where they can, even steal it!  Or if pistols and revolvers weren't as plentiful!   I support guns to protect my family when scumbags like these guys are shooting at me/my family.   Outlawing sale of ammo and guns WILL NOT stop the killers from causing deaths.  And pls. understand, I feel very sorry for the family of this young lady who was killed--very tragic!


billbtri5 wrote on August 18, 2012 at 12:08 pm

criminals are rarely charged with gun this case and see what they are charged with .....

alabaster jones 71 wrote on August 19, 2012 at 6:08 am
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Here's my guess regarding what they will be charged with:  murder.

I mean, seriously, this is a murder case, and you are worried about whether they will be charged for not having a FOID card?  I think the prosecutor will have slightly more important charges to worry murder.

Whatdidyoujustsay wrote on August 18, 2012 at 6:08 pm

"I support guns to protect my family when scumbags like these guys are shooting at me/my family."

I sincerely hope that bad guys are not shooting at you and your family. However, here in the real world, one scumbag shooting at another scumbag killed Desirae. In May, there were three gun fatalities in our community. Is easier and unlimited access to guns and ammunition what we really need?

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on August 17, 2012 at 5:08 pm
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I think children deserve adult parents. I'm old-fashioned that way.

cateyes wrote on August 17, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Desire was adult enough to have a few years college completed and adult enough to marry a man that was away serving this country. Yes, she was young, but she had some good adult qualities about her.

rsp wrote on August 18, 2012 at 3:08 am

I'm not sure the ability to buy alcohol is a very good standard to judge either adulthood or parenting ability. Isn't it better to have your mother who was working and trying to go to college and give you a good life than to grow up knowing someone killed her because crossfire? Do you think her children feel she was a good mother? 

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on August 18, 2012 at 9:08 pm
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I think its best to have someone with wisdom, experience and maturity. It's good to be in college when you're twenty. It's best to have children after you've learned.


As Richard Dawkins said "start at 30."

cateyes wrote on August 18, 2012 at 9:08 pm

nobody seems to want the boys straight out of high school to gain wisdom, experience or maturity first before going over seas to protect and serve our country. I think that a comment on a dead mother's age is a very low blow and very insensitive. If she was 30 her children would still be left without a mother.

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on August 19, 2012 at 3:08 am
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Okay. Good for you.


I think it's unfortunate that people are killing at such a young age. I think it's unfortunate that people are having children are such a young age. If it makes you feel better, I think it's unfortunate that people are motherless at such a young age, too.



rsp wrote on August 19, 2012 at 4:08 am

I seriously doubt her children really care what Richard Dawkins thought. They probably would prefer to have her home. Besides, the man has been married three times. That doesn't say much about his wisdom.

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on August 19, 2012 at 8:08 am
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Do you recommend motherhood for teenagers?

cateyes wrote on August 19, 2012 at 9:08 am

Did I have my children as a teenager? No. Do I want my children to be teenage parents? No. I am not here to judge anyone's decisions that they have made. It's not my job. I lost my mother at the age of 14 and had to grow up really quick. By the age of 20, I had my career in the works, dating my husband and on my way to buying a point is, NOBODY can have a valid reason to critize her experience, wisdom, or how mature she is. There are grown people in their 30's who don't work and live with their parents, because they are too proud to take a job that they believe is below them. Age means nothing, taking care of your responsibilities is everything, no matter your birthdate. When her chilldren are old enough too google their mother's name or research her death, which is tragic enough, I hope they can only see positive articles of her and not people attacking her because of her age to have children, get married and go to college. Of coarse there are some people that will always find negative in anything.

rsp wrote on August 19, 2012 at 10:08 am

Do I recommend parenthood for teens? No. Do I recommend criticizing young mothers who by all apparent appearances were doing everything right with their children? No. You seem to be more focused on attacking someone who couldn't defend herself then or now. 

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on August 19, 2012 at 6:08 pm
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Is it really so heartless to **sigh** about teenaged motherhood? 


Are you suggesting that we should disapprove of children having children, but not vocalize our disapproval?


I happen to think it's a serious social problem.

cateyes wrote on August 19, 2012 at 8:08 pm

yes, it is heartless to "sigh" about this women and the only thing to be pointed out is that she had her children when she was young.

Sid Saltfork wrote on August 19, 2012 at 10:08 am

Attorney Rob;  Not everyone is born with a "silver spoon" in their mouth.  Not everyone have parents who can lavish a college education on them.  People are products of their environment.  A few are able to move up, and out.  The majority do not.  You obviously are not from the Blue Collar class.  Your comments portray that.

cateyes wrote on August 19, 2012 at 11:08 am

Thank you rsp and Sid Saltfork, I thought maybe I was the only one seeing this or seeing this in the wrong light.

Sid Saltfork wrote on August 19, 2012 at 12:08 pm

cateyes;  Many of us get tired of the condescending, elitist attitude.  My wife, and I had children at an early adult age.  We obtained our education.  We worked together.  I graduated with my university degree as a parent.  We are still married after all of these years.  People who grew up with a "silver spoon" in their mouth have no idea what growing up Blue Collar is like.  They pontificate on matters that they know nothing about.

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on August 19, 2012 at 6:08 pm
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Sid Saltfork: Working Class Hero

Sid Saltfork wrote on August 19, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Thank you, my lordship.  I have worked with my hands.  I worked from the time I was 12 years old until I retired.  I worked two part time jobs while attending college.  I know work.  I am not a "Working Class Hero"; but I take your comment as a compliment.  I would not change my work experience for one of the privileged born.  It taught me to be self reliant; and not dependent on my parents, or others.  Hopefully; a new generation of working class will learn to stand up to the little lords instead of toadying to them.

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on August 19, 2012 at 9:08 pm
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I notice you make a lot of assumptions. "Facts not in evidence," us lordships call it.

I've mopped a lot of floors; cleaned out deep fat fryers;  weekly lifted & carried +50 lb. loads.  That's for work.

At home I put in a couple of new sinks, a toilet and a shower, even switched out old dielectric unions and galvanized piping for PVC. Also cabinetry, painting, installing carpet, minor carpentry and even some minor electrical. Does this mean you like or respect me now? Is my opinion more valid because I've got my hands dirty?

Sell your tiresome Workin' Man's Blues to someone who'll buy it.

ronaldo wrote on August 17, 2012 at 7:08 pm

I was having an awesome day....until I read this rather nonsensical drivel that you composed.  First you state that I "failed to notice", and then you indicate that I didn't read.  So, which one is it?  Did I read Robs post but fail to notice the word "none" referring to both thugs and Desirae?  Or did I just comment without reading?  Logically, they cannot both be correct.

By using the interpretive skills on what I wrote that you so eloquently demonstrated here for us today, my comment wouldn't even have made a lick of sense by inferring that Desirae made a bad decision by being out on the 4th of July - that being the only thing that we know she was doing that evening.  Thank you for informing us all what I meant, not what I wrote.  (For the record, they're not even close.)  Even the most feeble-minded among us would concur that being out on the 4th of July is not only not bad judgement, but rather it's the status quo.  I was torn when I first read of her being shot and for the past weeks I've been hoping and hoping that they would catch the two-bit cowards who did it.  And they did.

Realizing that this was perhaps your only chance all day to make yourself feel somehow more significant by pointing out the most simple of oversight that I made in interpreting Rob's post, I will plead guilty to "failing to notice" that the word "none' could have, in fact, included Desirae just as easily as not.  I'm proud to have been a part of giving you that little boost of self-confidence that you needed to make it through the day and into the weekend.  Now go get 'em, cowboy!

I'd end with the obligatory "have a good day", but after that I know you already will.  And don't you go worrying about me now - I will too.

rsp wrote on August 18, 2012 at 4:08 am

You failed to notice he included the mother as being under 21. She didn't do anything wrong she was shot. Too often people are commenting without reading. 

I'm not even sure I understand what you wrote. In your prior comment I understood it to suggest that she had some fault in what happened. I did not intend to imply that was what you meant, only that it could be interpreted that way, which is apparently how some others also saw it. The last sentence is a general statement in that I have notice people commenting in haste without understanding what someone was saying or even in regards to the article. When you consider the article, then look at Rob's comment and then your prior one it suggests a train of thought. Sometimes we leave out the parts we are thinking because they seem so obvious to us but they aren't to everyone else. 

Sid Saltfork wrote on August 19, 2012 at 10:08 am

ronaldo;  Rob being a local boy of "academe" has no experience with the subject matter of the article.  He can only provoke; and criticize spelling, and grammar.  I enjoyed your reply.

Urbanagirl2 wrote on August 17, 2012 at 1:08 pm

It is very upsetting that people complain about crime in their neighborhoods, but do nothing to help the police. 

Sid Saltfork wrote on August 18, 2012 at 10:08 am

EL YATARI made a good point.  What would you do if you lived in a neighborhood where the police could not protect you 24/7?  If you saw a crime, and knew the criminals; would you go to the police, and snitch on them?  Would you take the chance that someone would find out?  What about your kids?  Is someone going to protect them?  This goes way back in American history.  The Irish neighborhoods had the same problem.  The Italian neighborhoods had the same problem.  This is not unique only to today.  It is the code of silence.

alabaster jones 71 wrote on August 18, 2012 at 7:08 pm
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Right on, Sid.  I imagine that a lot of these commenters who are saying "get off your butts and talk to the police if you know anything" would have their mouths shut and their pants soiled if they were in the same situation.  People don't want to speak to the police if they think it might result in them being the next victim.  You can argue all day about whether that makes them cowards, but you really don't know what you would do in their situation until you are in their situation.

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on August 18, 2012 at 9:08 pm
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In the "better" neighborhoods, where the crimes are nuisances, the perps try to scold/intimidate/ humiliate by insisting  "neighbors should work it out among themselves"  which means "I'm going to keep doing it."

Sid Saltfork wrote on August 19, 2012 at 10:08 am

You should know.  No one is contradicting you.  I believe you know what growing up in "better neighborhoods" is like.

Marti Wilkinson wrote on August 18, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Neither the victim or the men who are accused of killing her are residents of Garden Hills, yet some of the comments here are engaging in a lot of finger pointing. Plus, if a lack of witnesses is what is hindering the investigation, then how come an arrest was made? It seems to me that someone cooperated with the detectives in order for them to get as far as they did. There is probably a lot more to this story than what is being reported. This also happened right after the fireworks ceremony at Dodd's Park, and I can't help but wonder if that doesn't encourage a spike in crime.

I live in a part of Garden Hills where I have not seen any activity. What I do know is that members of the neighborhood association put pressure on the city a few years ago. This pressure resulted in money that was earmarked for the Urban League being funneled into programs at Garden Hills school. This also resulted in increased police patrols in some of the more troubled sections of the subdivision. There has also been a push for more effective street lighting. If something as basic as a neighborhood watch program worked, it would have been implemented a long time ago. I think some people may have assumed that tearing down Dorsey Homes would eliminate some of the crime, but apparently not. One of the things I did learn at a neighborhood association meeting, was that anyone who has a Section 8 voucher can be evicted if any criminal activity is taking place at a residence.

As I have stated, I have not seen any activity. However, if groups of people decided to start shooting at one another on my street, I'm not going to go outside and take a look. The smart thing for me to do would be to report the noise of the shooting, and stay inside to lower my risks of being hit by a stray bullet. Plus, if the stuff that goes on is gang related, people may well fear for their lives if they choose to discuss what is going on with authorities. This may be why the news article has noted that anyone who does choose to come forward can be assured of confidentiality.

I got a postcard in the mail regarding an upcoming neighborhood association meeting at the school. Council Members Vic McIntosh and Will Kyles will be at the meeting this coming Monday at 6:30pm. I will try to be there and I encourage any resident of Garden Hills to put in an appearance.