Weapons violation brings prison term

Weapons violation brings prison term

URBANA — A Champaign teenager was sentenced Thursday to six years in prison for a weapons violation.

Champaign County Judge Harry Clem declined a defense request to recommend Walter Willis, 19, whose last known address was in the 2000 block of West John Street, for the Department of Corrections' boot camp program.

Willis pleaded guilty in November to unlawful use of weapons by a felon in connection with a Jan. 25 incident in which a Champaign police detective found that Willis had a gun in a car on Crescent Drive in Champaign.

Sgt. Dave Griffet testified that he was questioning Willis as a suspect in an armed robbery that had occurred earlier that day near Centennial High School.

The then-16-year-old victim was at the corner of Hollycrest Drive and William Street about 10 a.m. when he was robbed of cash at gunpoint by a man whom he later identified through a photo lineup as Willis.

Griffet said the victim described a different kind of gun than the one that he later found in Willis' car.

Assistant State's Attorney Scott Larson agreed to dismiss armed robbery, aggravated unlawful use of weapons, and obstructing justice charges against Willis when he pleaded to the unlawful use of weapons charge.

Larson recommended a 10-year prison term, noting Willis' prior convictions for intimidation and aggravated battery as an adult and possession with intent to deliver cannabis on school grounds as a juvenile. Willis' attorney, Assistant Public Defender Scott Schmidt, asked the judge to sentence him to a lower number of years so Willis could be eligible for boot camp.

Willis was given credit on his sentence for 331 days already served.