Urbana man scheduled to testify murdered; defendant a no-show

URBANA — An Urbana man who was supposed to testify in a Champaign County felony trial today was murdered in an east Urbana apartment Monday night.

Urbana police are looking for the man who forced his way into an apartment at 1102 E. Colorado Ave., about 8:30 p.m., and fired multiple shots at Curtis L. Mosley, 29, killing him.

Urbana police Sgt. Dan Morgan said police are looking for a black man who was wearing a tan Carhartt jacket and had the lower half of his face covered.

Mr. Mosley was pronounced dead later at Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana.

The victim of an earlier crime, Mr. Mosley was set to testify Tuesday in the trial of Ardis Fenn, 23.

Fenn, whose last known address was in the 700 block of East Main Street, Urbana, was charged with aggravated battery with a firearm for allegedly shooting Mr. Mosley in the leg on June 12 outside the Above & Beyond Detailing shop, 708 E. Main St., U. Mr. Mosley worked there.

The shooting stemmed from an apparent robbery attempt. Mr. Mosley was shot in the thigh as he turned to run from the man threatening him with a rifle. He was treated and released that day. A bullet was removed from him.

A jury had been selected Monday to hear Fenn’s case after Judge Tom Difanis denied Fenn’s motion to continue it another month. The trial had previously been continued several times while the state waited for the results of DNA from the gun allegedly used to threaten Mr. Mosley.

Just last week, Assistant Public Defender Stephanie Corum had filed a demand for a speedy trial on Fenn’s behalf, citing the numerous delays in getting him to trial while the state waited for DNA results. The state responded by allowing Fenn to be released on Jan. 28.

He came to court Monday for jury selection on his Class X felony charge — conviction of which means an automatic prison term of between 21 and 45 years — but did not show up Tuesday for his trial, which was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.

About 9:15 a.m., Difanis called the jurors into the courtroom and told them to come back at 9 a.m. Thursday, but not to read or listen to any news reports between now and then.

Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz told The News-Gazette that the criminal code says “if a trial commences in the presence of the defendant and the defendant willfully absents himself for two successive court days, then the court shall proceed to trial.”

“We are prepared to proceed,” Rietz told The News-Gazette, adding that precautions have been taken with other witnesses.

"We are making arrangements to protect the witnesses in this case,” she said, declining to provide specifics out of caution.

Outside the presence of the jurors, Difanis recited into the record that Fenn was not present and that Urbana police heard his sister Monday night talking on a cellphone saying, ‘Bro, don’t come around. The police are looking for you.’  

That woman was one of 14 civilians, including Mr. Mosley, who had been listed as potential trial witnesses. The list also included 17 Urbana police officers, three Champaign police officers and one scientist from the Illinois State Crime Lab. Ziegler had told the judge he could probably get all those witnesses on by Wednesday.

Difanis issued a warrant for Fenn’s arrest, with a $10 million bond.

Court records indicate that Fenn has prior convictions in Champaign County for possession of a controlled substance in 2010 and obstructing justice in 2009.

Mr. Mosley has no local criminal convictions, but court records indicated he had convictions from Georgia in 2001 for hit and run and possession of a controlled substance and from 2008 for simple battery.

Court records indicate at least eight other civilian witnesses have criminal convictions. The state is required to disclose that information to the defense.

Corum told the judge she had only two potential witnesses to call on her client’s behalf — both Urbana police officers.

Morgan, who is also a witness in the Fenn case, spent the night interviewing witnesses and doing follow-up investigation.

Morgan said there were other adults present when Mr. Mosley was shot. He was uncertain if Mr. Mosley lived there. At the time of his shooting in June, he listed an address on East University Avenue in Urbana.

Gabriel Chaney, 19, who listed an address in the 200 block of Hessel Boulevard, Champaign, is also charged with aggravated battery with a firearm in the June 12 incident. He remains in jail and is due back in court Feb. 12.

Morgan said police have no information about the direction of travel of the shooter.

Police ask anyone with information on this homicide to call the Urbana Police Department at 384-2320 or Crimestoppers at 217-373-8477 or text “CCTip” and the information to 274637.

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TheChiefLives wrote on February 05, 2013 at 7:02 am

Same guy that was shot last year?

cretis16 wrote on February 05, 2013 at 9:02 am

Another crime in SE Urbana...please take down all apartment buildings in this area.

nndsmom wrote on February 05, 2013 at 10:02 am

You take down those buildings and the trouble simply moves to a different part of town.  The solution is not as simple as that.

cretis16 wrote on February 05, 2013 at 1:02 pm

This is whats happens when the city moves the crime from North Broadway to once peaceful SE Urbana. This used to be a nice neighborhood.....whew...

sweet caroline wrote on February 05, 2013 at 9:02 am

Check the circuit court website:  cccircuitclerk.com.  Mr. Mosely didn't even have a criminal history at all.  Ardis Fenn, however, has a serious criminal history. 

Urbana is feeling more and more like the south suburbs of Chicago. 

UIUCHoopFan wrote on February 05, 2013 at 10:02 am

Agreed!  The criminal subculture population in the CU area continues to grow.  What's to blame?  Increased Section 8 housing?  A spill over from Danville and the families following their family members through the penal system?  Proximity to I-57 and the monthly running of The Memphis 500 (Chicago to Memphis) to double dip the Feds for free money in the mailbox?

My solution begins with CONCEAL AND CARRY! 

nndsmom wrote on February 05, 2013 at 10:02 am

You think conceal and carry will decrease shootings?  It only seems to me that more guns would equal more shootings.  Sorry, but I don't want to live in the wild, wild west.

Love until it Hurts then Lo... wrote on February 05, 2013 at 10:02 am

Look at the statistics, tighter gun control cities have the worst gun violence. Don't have to look much farther than Chicago to see this statistic in real life.

rsp wrote on February 05, 2013 at 11:02 am

There is a gang war in Chicago. Are you in a gang? Last year the city of Chicago seized 7400 guns. They were imported from neighboring states and sold by people who think nothing of selling to anyone for any reason. You think you need a gun to protect yourself? Someone kicked in a door last night and killed someone probably thinking the same thing. 

MrNimbus wrote on February 05, 2013 at 10:02 am

Statistics prove, conceal and carry does reduce shootings.  You cannot argue with the facts.

SaintClarence27 wrote on February 06, 2013 at 8:02 am

Exactly what statistics are these?

Beem wrote on February 05, 2013 at 10:02 am

Seems like this would be a good time to post a photo of Ardis Fenn.

tattoo58 wrote on February 05, 2013 at 10:02 am

Yes, we need a picture of offender, might help to locate him.


Illinois needs to approve carry/conceal ASAP.


Wild west  forcoming or not.


Also, News Gazette stuff your captcha!!!!

sweet caroline wrote on February 05, 2013 at 11:02 am

Morgan said there were other adults present when Mr. Mosley was shot.

Are we to believe that the adult witnesses of this murder don't personally know the murderer?  I find that hard to believe.  I just hope there were no children present. 

You can find Gabriel Chaney's arrest record on cccircuitclerk.com, as well.  This seems to be his first offense.  He has apparently remained in custody since the arrest, based on his absences at court hearings due to being in custody.  I wonder why Chaney, obviously with a lesser charge, is in custody while Ardis Fenn, who shot Mr. Mosely in the leg last June, has been out on bond. 

rsp wrote on February 05, 2013 at 11:02 am

Are we to believe that the adult witnesses of this murder don't personally know the murderer?  I find that hard to believe.

 

It doesn't say one way or the other and I doubt if they would release that information. Fenn's bond was just reduced 1-28-13 to $1000 and allowed for ROR. 

illini_trucker wrote on February 05, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Because our lovely judges, idiotic Difanis and company LOWERED Fenn's bond from a QUARTER OF A MILLION DOLLARS to just a single one thousand dollars while... (Your gonna love this!!) allowing ROR!! On a Class X felony!! The idiotic Difanis and company kept Chaney's bond at 100k because its ok to have 1 out of 2 of the bad guys on gun-related charges... While Obama and company feverishly work to disarm the rest of us!

illini_trucker wrote on February 05, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Judges need to be held responsible when their actions or lack thereof causes harm. Judge Blockhead is famous for denying OP's and Difanis is no stranger to imposing lightest sentences if any, possible! So what happens all all this goes to crap?? Dead innocents and further domestic harm... All while they sit in their comfy black robes on their chair hearing out and dismissing mores cases chugging in their vodka! (What?? Did u think that was WATER in that little shot glass on the stand??? Lolz!)

SaintClarence27 wrote on February 06, 2013 at 8:02 am

It would help if you know even a little of what you're talking about. The ROR was required by law. It wasn't up to the judge. For someone who constantly cries about the Second Amendment, you seem to have very little regard for the constitution in other areas.

billbtri5 wrote on February 05, 2013 at 12:02 pm

more gun laws would be the answer?...they don't take the ones we have now seriously...looks like he has two previous records, jumped bail on 8-28-09, was required to give dna , I can't tell if he is a felon but was sentenced to 18 months in 2010..but I find it interesting that in this latest incident he was not charged with any "gun law violations" ie FOID card, concealed weapon, illegal transportation, loaded gun....which if convicted would of added substantial time onto a sentence...this is crazy....

local attorney wrote on February 05, 2013 at 12:02 pm

What the news gazette failed to mention was that the State gave this man Fenn recognizance and that is why he was out on bond.  Went from bond of $250,000 to $0 a few days ago.

rsp wrote on February 05, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Not the state, the court. An attorney would know the difference. Not o $0 bond either. It was $1000 ROR. 

local attorney wrote on February 05, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Well lets see. $0 bond is the same as ROR in that the defendant has to post $0 money to get out of jail.  The State moved for the ROR and the Judge granted it. So in effect the State put this man out of jail on ROR. The Judge just granted the State's motion.  I assume you are NOT an attorney

rsp wrote on February 05, 2013 at 2:02 pm

"Just last week, Assistant Public Defender Stephanie Corum had filed a demand for a speedy trial on Fenn’s behalf, citing the numerous delays in getting him to trial while the state waited for DNA results. The state responded by allowing Fenn to be released on Jan. 28."

His attorney was determined to get him on the street. The State's Attorney took a chance that for a few days he wouldn't have time to do anything and they would still have their case. Well, they still have their case, we don't know if he did it, but we can guess. Can we trust attorneys? You're one, you tell me. For too many of them it's just a game. They overcharge. They refuse to take pro bono cases. They manipulate the system to help their friends and partners. How long is too long to wait for dna results? I'm sure somebody's mother would disagree with you. 

kaw wrote on February 05, 2013 at 1:02 pm

@Sweet Caroline, the Champaign County web site reflects only convictions in Champaign County, nothing else.  The article said Mr. Mosley had convictions in the state of Georgia, which will not be displayed in a check through Champaign County.  This statement is not a reflection on the victim in this situation, I'm only hoping to clarify how the Champaign County web site works.  

cateyes wrote on February 05, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Champaign County Web site reflects any charges that are brought against someone, not only convictions.

kaw wrote on February 05, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Yes, you're absolutely right, but only in Champaign County.  The comment above was about convictions, not charges, and that's what I addressed in my comment.  Again, you're only getting activity in Champaign County and nowhere else.  

sweet caroline wrote on February 05, 2013 at 3:02 pm

You're right, KAW.  Thanks for clarifying.  I hadn't thought outside of Champaign County.  So the victim probably wasn't squeaky clean, either.  But it's still a tragedy.

smokn69 wrote on February 05, 2013 at 1:02 pm

We need more guns to protect us from our guns!!!!!!!!!!!!

mark taylor's ghost wrote on February 05, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Everybody needs to be concealed carrying at least twenty handguns and displaying six to ten assault style weapons AT ALL TIMES!!!!!!!!!!!11!!!

That'll reduce shootings in Illinois and our cities GUARANTEED!!!!!!!!!11!! My stats from Wyoming and Utah prove it beyond refudiation!!!!!!!!!11!!

smokn69 wrote on February 05, 2013 at 1:02 pm

NRA 101 Violent video games and Violent movies kill people not my gun dangit!!!!!!!

cretis16 wrote on February 05, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Just last week, Assistant Public Defender Stephanie Corum had filed a demand for a speedy trial on Fenn’s behalf, citing the numerous delays in getting him to trial while the state waited for DNA results. The state responded by allowing Fenn to be released on Jan. 28.

GEE THANKS..for turning this thug loose " STATE".

fedupwithit wrote on February 05, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Speedy Trial means that a defendant can not be held in custody more than 120 days waiting on trial. At some point when the scheduling and the DNA and the continuances that happen as a result delay things, the state gets to a point where they have no choice but to agree to an ROR. Otherwise they risk the case being dismissed forever. This is by statute not just on some Judge or Prosecutors whim. Please Please at least educate yourselves prior to blasting people or throwing wild accusations for no reason. Unless of course accusations that have no basis in reality and unsubstantiated claims of malfeasance are your thing, then please enjoy being mad all the time.

illini_trucker wrote on February 05, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Why not?? The "law" walks all over everything else!! Lets take the 2nd Amendment for instance.. Read the final four words of that amendment. "Shall not be infringed." There is a single PERIOD after the word "infringed" and absolutely NOTHING more for the 2nd Amendment. That means... FOID cards.. Unconstitutional.. Felons having guns.. LEGAL... Firearm limits.. UNCONSTITUTIONAL.... Background checks?? Yup!! Unconstitutional! Well, you can still have background checks all you want... Denying or regulating US Citizen firearm ownership is unconstitutional. Unless I missed the meaning of the words "shall," "not," and "infringed." But yet, I'm required to have a FOID card. A background check is performed before I get a FOID card and that check is used as a basis to allow me to have a FOID card. Without FOID, I go to jail. Why is that?? It's not because of the US Constitution!! The same Constitution that allows for a speedy trial....

SaintClarence27 wrote on February 05, 2013 at 8:02 pm

That's not even REMOTELY close to accurate. You can't just look at the last four words of a sentence to ascertain its meaning.

And unconstitutionality is a spectrum regardless. There's not a blanket unconstitutionality.

illini_trucker wrote on February 05, 2013 at 11:02 pm

You are soooo right!! Lets read all 27 words and the period at the end before we disseminate!!

As per the official .gov website: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html Amendment IIA well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. Nothing more... Nothing less... 'Nuff said...

SaintClarence27 wrote on February 06, 2013 at 7:02 am

Still doesn't make your point. The government can still place reasonable regulations. Or do you advocate that people are constitutionally allowed to have nuclear weapons?

Beem wrote on February 05, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Okay, so one week, she files to get a speedy trial for him, and the next week makes a motion for a continuance. Seems contradictory. It's all a game.

"A jury had been selected Monday to hear Fenn’s case after Judge Tom Difanis denied Fenn’s motion to continue it another month".

"Just last week, Assistant Public Defender Stephanie Corum had filed a demand for a speedy trial on Fenn’s behalf, citing the numerous delays in getting him to trial while the state waited for DNA results. The state responded by allowing Fenn to be released on Jan. 28."

RealityhasaLiberalBias wrote on February 05, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Well...let's take a look at the facts: 

http://factcheck.org/2012/12/gun-rhetoric-vs-gun-facts/

There is a paucity of evidence to prove that conceal/carry laws reduce crime.  However, there is a statistically significant relationship between the concentration of guns and homicides in a given location.  

Maybe we'd have more research on the subject, but the NRA stifles scientific research by buying politicians to suppress advancment: 

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2012/12/gun_violence_research_nra_and_congress_blocked_gun_control_studies_at_cdc.html

And if Slate is too liberal for you, here is Business Insider's take:

http://www.businessinsider.com/cdc-nra-kills-gun-violence-research-2013-1

sweet caroline wrote on February 05, 2013 at 10:02 pm

On tonight's 10:00 news, both channel 3 and channel 15 interviewed the state's attorney, who said she will be looking into ways to prevent something like this from happening in the future; i.e., the time limitation of how long a suspect can be held without a trial.  She did what the law requires her to do, which is to let Ardis Fenn out of jail on his own recognizance due to the 120-day limitation.  She said that due to the state being so far behind in paying bills, DNA testing is also running behind.  They didn't yet have the DNA evidence they needed from the gun Ardis Fenn used last June to shoot Curtis Mosley in the leg.

She said that all of the other witnesses for the prosecution are under police protection now.  She didn't say if Ardis Fenn is a suspect in Curtis Mosley's murder, but he has not been found. 

The news reports said that Ardis Fenn had lived in those apartments on Colorado at the time of the original crime last June. 

Dogsrule732 wrote on February 06, 2013 at 7:02 am

I wonder how much of the state's decision to allow ROR is statute driven and/or influenced by our crowded jail? Any ideas? 

sweet caroline wrote on February 06, 2013 at 7:02 am

To answer dogsrule732's question, according to the state's attorney last night on the news, it is statute-driven.  It sounds like she wasn't happy about letting Fenn out on ROR, but she had no control over the matter.  It's the law.  Believe me, you can tell by her interview that she is devastated, both personally and professionally.  This will not be a shining star on her tenure as state's attorney. 

sweet caroline wrote on February 06, 2013 at 7:02 am

To answer dogsrule732's question, according to the state's attorney last night on the news, it is statute-driven.  It sounds like she wasn't happy about letting Fenn out on ROR, but she had no control over the matter.  It's the law.  Believe me, you can tell by her interview that she is devastated, both personally and professionally.  This will not be a shining star on her tenure as state's attorney. 

Bulldogmojo wrote on February 06, 2013 at 9:02 am

I'm just curious about the "Mo guns Mo safety concealed carry now " argument that gets floated on these boards all the time. It says on the FBI stats website that there were 699 gun murders in Texas in 2011. Murders, not just gun deaths there. Since they (Texas) proclaim themselves as the Mecca of gun rights and the second amendment and concealed carry not to mention no gay boyscouts allowed, how come that number is more than Illinois? A lot more. second only to California.

Doesn't everyone in Texas conceal carry and thereby that should prevent all gun murders? Or...is having a weapon on you all the time increasing the chances you will kill someone if life becomes too stressful? I don't have Ted Nugent's email so I will ask you guys.

Just wondering, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...GO

ConcernedCUCitizen wrote on February 06, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Bulldogmojo,


You can't simply compare Texas' gun murders to Illinois' as if it was apples to apples.  Texas' estimated population for 2011 is nearly double that of Illinois (http://www.census.gov/popest/data/state/totals/2011/).  When taken as a percentage of total population, Texas' gun murder rate is 0.00272% of the population while Illinois' is 0.00292%.  Though marginally different, Illinois' is still higher than Texas'.  California's is even higher at 0.00323.  You must put statistics into perspective and not take them at face value.

Bulldogmojo wrote on February 06, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Yes I can understand there is a population context but a lot of the talking heads out there the most vocal being from Texas hold up concealed carry as a panacea for stopping armed criminals. The one statistic I'm sure about is that those 699 murdered people were all completely convinced in their last second that gun violence was a 100% problem.

cretis16 wrote on February 06, 2013 at 3:02 pm

ILLINOIS=only state WITHOUT concealed?

SaintClarence27 wrote on February 06, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Yes it is. Some states are "may issue" and some are "shall issue," but only Illinois does not issue them at all.

Anonymous555 wrote on March 23, 2014 at 1:03 am

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