Third teen sentenced to prison in attack on Australian researcher

Third teen sentenced to prison in attack on Australian researcher

URBANA — A third teen who participated in the kidnapping and brutal beating of an Australian researcher who was visiting in Champaign in late 2011 has been sentenced to prison.

Anthony Davis, 19, whose last known address was in the 2400 block of North Neil Street, Champaign, was sentenced to 15 years and one month in prison for the Oct. 20, 2011, aggravated kidnapping of Clinton Fookes, 34, who was plucked off a street somewhere on the University of Illinois campus that night, thrown in a van, beaten repeatedly, robbed of his phone, cash and credit cards, then dumped almost totally naked on a rural road north of Champaign. He tried unsuccessfully to get help that night and spent several hours in a barn wrapped in a tarp.

Seriously injured, Fookes made his way the next morning to North Mattis Avenue where a good Samaritan picked him up and got him help.

Champaign police detective Robb Morris was able to track Fookes' attackers through his stolen iPhone, which led Morris first to Davis.

Assistant State's Attorney Lindsey Clark said Davis then implicated co-defendants Ralph Gray, 18, and Dorian Wills, 18, both of Champaign.

All three teens pleaded guilty to aggravated kidnapping. Gray and Wills have already been sentenced to 20 years in prison, the agreement that Clark made with them if they pleaded guilty. They could have faced as many as 30 years in prison. Under truth-in-sentencing, they'll have to serve about 17 years.

Clark said she agreed to the 20-year sentences to spare a traumatized Fookes from having to return to the United States for the trials.

Even with his shorter sentence, Davis will end up serving about the same amount of prison time as the other two because his sentence has to be served after he completes a seven-year sentence he received in 2011 for a burglary.

In late October, Davis had pleaded guilty to the kidnapping but was incorrectly told that his sentence could run at the same time as his burglary sentence. When his pre-sentence investigation report was prepared, it was discovered that the kidnapping of Fookes happened while Davis was out on bond in the burglary case, a circumstance that mandates that the sentences be served one after the other.

Judge Tom Difanis allowed Davis to take back his original plea. Clark and Davis' attorney, Walter Ding of Champaign, then crunched the numbers on the two sentences so that what Davis serves on both his cases is the same as what Gray and Wills will serve.

He then pleaded guilty again Friday to the aggravated kidnapping.

Clark said she believed that Davis, the driver of the van, was the least culpable of the trio in the attack.

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Yo mama wrote on January 18, 2013 at 1:01 pm

What a joke, the MINIMUM they should receive is the death penalty

mark taylor's ghost wrote on January 18, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Capital punishment as the minimum sentence. BRILLIANT!!!!

Start with execution and then proceed on from there.

That'll teach 'em.

cretis16 wrote on January 18, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Pretty light sentence for these scum. Once they get released, get ready for some more crime. One strike and your're out, not 3 or 4.

Sid Saltfork wrote on January 18, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Going in at 18, and getting out at 35.  They did committ a serious crime; but they will serve 17 years.  Look back 17 years in your lives.  It seems to have went fast now; but at the time, it was one winter slowly followed by another.  That was not behind bars either.  Time will pass slower there.  They will be lucky to get the most basic job when they get out.  It is easy to say hang them, and give them a fair trial; but 17 years from boy to man is a good sentence.  It could have been 30 years; but the witness/victim did not want to return for the trial.  Evidently, he thought that 17 years was sufficient.  Who are we to say that it is not enough?