Urbana teen sentenced to 27 years in prison for rape and robbery

URBANA— An Urbana teenager has been sentenced to 27 years in prison for the rape and robbery of a 22-year-old Florida woman.

On Monday, Judge Heidi Ladd sentenced Darren D. Gillespie, 18, to 22 years for aggravated criminal sexual assault and five years for robbery.

Gillespie will receive credit for 383 days served, but he must also register as a sex offender.

The two sentences are to be served consecutively because sexual assault took place during the commission of the robbery, according to Assistant State's Attorney Scott Bennett.

Bennett said that Gillespie will be required to serve 85 percent of the aggravated criminal sexual assault sentence and 50 percent of the robbery sentence.

A jury convicted Gillespie in November for actions that took place when the woman visited an abandoned Urbana apartment — the now-condemned Urbana Town Homes, formerly Woodstone Apartments, at 1001 S. Lierman Ave. — on Jan. 11, 2011.

The woman testified during the trial that she thought she was going to meet a friend who would sell her Valium.

But when she arrived at the apartment, the woman found herself robbed by three young men she had never seen before and then raped by one of them, identified as Gillespie.

The victim said that Gillespie ordered her to empty her pockets of cash before he reached into her pocket and took her cellphone.

According to the woman's testimony, after the robbery, Gillespie told the other two robbers to leave the apartment. He then ordered her to go upstairs to the second level of the apartment, where he sexually assaulted her.

On Monday, Gillespie expressed regret for the robbery, saying he did it "to get something in my stomach."

But he continued to deny taking part in the sexual assault.

"I didn't rape her," he said.

Ladd said that Gillespie's actions were not an acceptable course of conduct.

"This was not a spur-of-the-moment decision," she said. "This was planned and laid out."

She also expressed concern for Gillespie's victim.

"She will have the psychological scars of what happened for the rest of her life," Ladd said.

During the sentencing hearing, Lt. Michael Johnson of the Champaign County sheriff's office testified that Gillespie had used a broken spoon to tamper with a lock at the jail just three days ago.

Defense attorney James Dedman argued for a lesser sentence, saying that Gillespie "has not had an easy childhood" and said the teen was neurotic.

Both of the other two robbers have been subsequently sentenced to juvenile prison — a now 18-year-old for robbing that woman and the other, now 17, for the attempted armed robbery of an undercover police officer the next day.

Gillespie has also been serving a 15-year sentence in the Juvenile Department of Corrections since the spring of 2011 for an attempted armed robbery that happened the day after the woman was robbed and raped. In that case, Gillespie pleaded guilty to trying to rob an Urbana police officer who was posing as a drug customer on Jan. 12, 2011, during a sting to ferret out the person or persons who had earlier stolen a drug dealer's phone and was using it to lure his unsuspecting customers into robberies.

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billbtri5 wrote on December 18, 2012 at 12:12 pm

how often i hear that there's no harm in using drugs, however when you cross that line you're opened up to all sorts of criminal activity that's connected with it...

by the way, apparently everybody got a "pass" on any drug charges...

alabaster jones 71 wrote on December 19, 2012 at 3:12 am
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"how often i hear that there's no harm in using drugs, however when you cross that line you're opened up to all sorts of criminal activity that's connected with it..."

 

There's all sorts of criminal activity connected with it precisely because they are illegal in the first place.  Our outdated prohibition attitude leaves the black market as the only option to get them.