URBANA — A 21-year-old Kankakee man who mugged a woman as she walked home from her job in Urbana last spring was sentenced Thursday to 25 years in prison.
"People coming home from their jobs ... shouldn't have to look over their shoulder in fear," Champaign County Judge Heidi Ladd told Joseph Hairston.
In August a jury convicted Hairston of robbery for what Ladd called a "calculated" attack on a then 26-year-old Urbana woman who was walking in the 200 block of South Lincoln Avenue shortly after 3 a.m. on April 30.
Assistant State's Attorney Chris Kanis said the woman testified that she was grabbed from behind, had an arm put around her neck and a hand placed over her mouth. The attacker dragged her behind a building where she feared she was going to be raped or killed, and demanded her cash.
The woman handed over $11 in cash, including a $2 bill, after the attacker threatened to kill her. She sustained scrapes and bruises but was not otherwise seriously injured physically.
The woman immediately called police and gave a description of the robber. Within minutes, police found Hairston on a bicycle in the 600 block of West Springfield Avenue. He had $11 on him, including a $2 bill.
Kanis asked for the 25-year sentence that Ladd doled out while Hairston's court-appointed lawyer, Assistant Public Defender Janie Miller-Jones, sought a sentence closer to the minimum of six years.
Ladd reviewed Hairston's criminal history, which included adjudications as a juvenile for residential burglary and battery. As an adult, he had felony convictions for unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle, burglary and retail theft, she noted.
Ladd noted that Hairston's record was a long one for a person so young. She said his actions were purposeful and designed to intimidate the victim.
"He did all of this for a total of $11 she made from tips," said Ladd.