Teen pleads to misdemeanor in school break-in

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.


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alumni90 wrote on May 08, 2013 at 10:05 pm

WOW!  Did the two individuals have different attorneys to receive/earn different punishments?  One individual has a permanent felony burglary conviction on his record and the other does not?  One individual will report to a probation officer for three years and the other does not (and after sucessfully completing his adult diversion there will not be any record of the Burglary-now theft plea?)  WOW!  One can go to college, get a great job and not be reminded of an incident that occurred at the age of 17 while the other goes to jail for a month, can't get a job because he has a felony conviction to follow him for the rest of his life; and, possibly can't get into college....it doesn't sound very equal.

Mary Schenk wrote on May 09, 2013 at 2:05 pm

I have added an additional paragraph to the story that may help. Hinton had more police contact, which accounts for the differences in the way the cases were resolved. Sorry I didn't give you enough background from the beginning.