Teen pleads to misdemeanor in school break-in
URBANA — A Mahomet teen who successfully completed Champaign County's diversion program has escaped a burglary conviction.
Austin Childress, 18, pleaded guilty Wednesday before Judge Richard Klaus to misdemeanor theft in connection with a March 7, 2012, break-in at the Mahomet-Seymour High School. Grow lights for plants were stolen.
In January, Childress was referred to the diversion program, which required that he complete 40 hours of public service, pay a $200 fine and take an online education course about marijuana abuse by mid-April.
Having done what he promised to do, the state allowed Childress to plead to the less serious misdemeanor theft charge for a sentence of 18 months of conditional discharge, a form of probation without reporting to an officer. The burglary charge was dismissed.
Childress' co-defendant, Travis Hinton, 17, also of Mahomet, pleaded guilty in December to burglary for a sentence of a month in the county jail and three years of probation.
Days after the high school break-in, Hinton was arrested again and charged with possession with intent to deliver cannabis in connection with substances that police found in a search of his home. That second felony was ultimately dismissed as part of his negotiated plea agreement.