Man pleads guilty to second-degree murder

Man pleads guilty to second-degree murder

URBANA — A Champaign man who admitted he killed a man who had attacked him with a beer bottle faces up to 11 years in prison when sentenced next month.

Keontae Campbell, 25, whose last known local address was in the 800 block of Oakcrest Drive, pleaded guilty Monday before Champaign County Judge Heidi Ladd to second-degree murder in connection with the July 1, 2011, shooting death of Nathan Barker, 26, of Champaign.

Ladd set sentencing for Nov. 30.

Assistant State's Attorney Dan Clifton, who negotiated the plea agreement with Campbell's attorney, Dan Jackson of Champaign, agreed not to seek more than 11 years in prison for Campbell. The maximum penalty he faces is 15 years.

State's Attorney Julia Rietz said had there been a trial, witnesses would have testified that the two men argued and Mr. Barker struck Campbell in the head with a beer bottle, causing cuts to Campbell's face. Witnesses also said Mr. Barker was the one who brought out a gun and that he and Campbell struggled over it with Campbell ultimately wresting it from Mr. Barker.

As Mr. Barker walked away, Campbell fired three shots — one at the ground, a second that hit a building, and the third that hit Mr. Barker in the chest, causing his death.

Rietz said the state agreed, given the totality of the circumstances, to resolve the case with a plea to second-degree murder in which Campbell acknowledged he inappropriately used deadly force to respond to Mr. Barker's attack on him with the beer bottle.

The state is expected to dismiss the murder counts at the time of sentencing.

In other cases resolved recently in Champaign County with guilty pleas:

— Zecheriah Hudspath, 18, who listed addresses in Rantoul and Pontiac, was sentenced to eight years in prison for predatory criminal sexual assault of a child.

He pleaded guilty to having sexual contact with a Rantoul boy under the age of 13 at a home in Rantoul in August 2011.

The contact came to the attention of the boy's parents in November 2011 when they discovered him and a younger brother doing a "naked dance" that they said Hudspath had taught them. A forensic interview of the older boy revealed he had been molested by Hudspath.

— Charmeika Brown, 27, whose last known address was in the 1100 block of West Bradley Avenue, Champaign, was sentenced to 30 months of drug court probation and ordered to make restitution of $2,444.

She pleaded guilty to forgery, admitting that on July 31, 2011, she wrote a check on a non-existent bank account to Schnuck's, 109 N. Mattis Ave., C, using a driver's license a woman had lost earlier that month.

Assistant State's Attorney Joel Fletcher said in late July and early August of 2011, several people presented documents purporting to be the woman's checks at Schnuck's with her driver's license number handwritten on it.

Brown was captured on surveillance video as the person presenting the check July 31.

— Daniel Garcia, 23, who listed an address in the 300 block of East Daniel Street, Champaign, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to deliver cannabis, admitting that he had cannabis intended for sale in his Daniel Street apartment on Feb. 2.

University of Illinois police officers had obtained a search warrant for the apartment after developing information that the residents had drugs there.

Police also found hallucinogenic mushrooms, cocaine, and a tank of nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas.

Garcia was sentenced to two years of probation and was ordered to get a substance abuse evaluation.