Man going to prison for drugs also accused of bribery

URBANA — An Urbana man who was to begin serving a prison sentence Friday for a drug conviction was charged Tuesday with bribery for allegedly trying to get a witness in that drug case to change her story.

Kendall Jones, 24, whose last known address was in the 1600 block of Abercorn Street, had pleaded guilty in Champaign County Circuit Court on Sept. 10 to possession with intent to deliver cocaine in connection with a crime that happened a year ago in Champaign.

Jones admitted that he had cocaine intended for sale on Sept. 20, 2011, in Champaign. He was sentenced to six years in prison, and Judge Tom Difanis allowed him to remain free until Sept. 28.

Assistant State's Attorney Stephanie Weber said in the case from a year ago, Jones was arguing with a woman in a car near Robinson Court and Washington Street when police approached. He got out of the car and ran, pitching something as he went.

A witness was prepared to testify that she saw him make a throwing motion, said Weber. Police found a bag containing several smaller bags that contained about 1.6 ounces of cocaine.

On Monday of this week, Jones allegedly went to the woman's Champaign home and offered her $500 if she would sign an affidavit recanting the statement she made to police at the time of his arrest last year.

Jones reportedly told the woman that he was now a father and could not go to prison for several years. He arrived at her home in a car with a woman and two small children, according to police.

The woman refused to sign the document and Jones left. When contacted by police later, Jones denied going to the woman's house. However, his girlfriend said she had accompanied Jones to a home in Champaign and that he got out to "talk to someone," but she didn't know what it was about.

Bribery is a Class 2 felony carrying penalties ranging from probation to three to seven years in prison.

Judge Richard Klaus set Jones' next court date on the bribery case for Oct. 23 but ordered that he be sent to the Department of Corrections to begin his sentence in the drug case. If convicted of the bribery, he could be ordered to serve that sentence after he finishes the one for the drugs.

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