URBANA — A Rantoul man has been sentenced to more than five decades in prison for the murder of another man more than two years ago.
On Monday, Judge John Kennedy sentenced Steven Monroe, 29, to 58 years in prison for the Jan. 7, 2011, fatal shooting of Marcus "Boo Man" Brown in his home east of Rantoul.
Moore will be given credit for 677 days he has already served, and his sentence will be served concurrently with a 30-year prison sentence he received for unlawful use of weapons by a felon in connection with the shooting of another Rantoul man, Dennis Droughns.
Mr. Brown was discovered dead in his apartment on Jan. 8, 2011, at the Bell Apartments complex on U.S. 136 east of Rantoul. There were no signs of a struggle, and authorities initially thought he may have died of an asthma attack. An autopsy later revealed he had been shot once in the back of the head with most of the bleeding being internal.
Champaign County sheriff's investigators also learned that Mr. Brown had been robbed of his Xbox game, a laptop computer and a small amount of cannabis.
It wasn't until late March 2011 that Monroe and another man, Joseph Emery, 28, were charged with the murder.
Emery is scheduled back in court on March 19.
A third man, Roy Duckworth, was charged in early April 2011. He pleaded guilty to armed robbery and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Monroe was linked to the murder through a gun used to shoot Droughns within a couple of hours of Mr. Brown's shooting. Droughns was shot in the back on Jan. 7, 2011, in a car in Rantoul but was not seriously injured. Monroe was found to have had the gun in his pocket.
After Droughns' shooting, testimony revealed, the bullet from the gun that shot him was found to match the bullet that killed Mr. Brown.
On Monday, Monroe continued to deny murdering Mr. Brown.
"Unfortunately an innocent man lost his life in this situation," Monroe said. "I am still declaring my innocence in this situation."
Assistant State's Attorney Steve Ziegler argued for a 60-year prison sentence.
"He has been involved in the criminal justice system since 1997," Ziegler said. "His actions have evolved from dangerous to stupid to deadly."
Monroe's attorney, Jim Dedman of Urbana, argued for a more lenient sentence.
"It is tragic that a nice, sweet person like Steven Monroe got himself in his position," he said.