Peoria man's trial for robbing man of casino winnings underway

Peoria man's trial for robbing man of casino winnings underway

URBANA — The second of two men accused of robbing a Champaign man of gambling winnings more than a year ago is being tried in Champaign County Circuit Court.

Assistant State's Attorney Lindsey Clark told a jury Tuesday hearing John Williamson's armed robbery case that video surveillance and cellphone technology would link the 29-year-old Peoria man to the April 12, 2012, armed robbery of Sean Harrigan.

Co-defendant Marvino Mister, 24, of Peoria, is already serving a 30-year prison sentence after having been convicted in December of the armed robbery of Harrigan.

The 23-year-old Champaign man testified he went to the Par-A-Dice casino in East Peoria with two friends on April 11, 2012, and after several hours at the same craps table, walked out of the casino with $23,000 in cash.

After being escorted by a security guard to their car, the trio drove back to Champaign along Interstate 74, arriving at the parking garage of Harrigan's apartment at 512 S. Third St. about 6 a.m.

Harrigan said he reached over to the glove compartment to take out his envelopes of cash when an armed man quickly approached.

"As I put my foot out, I saw a man approaching with a gun," said Harrigan, who remained in his car, sitting on the envelopes of cash.

After initially telling the robber he had no cash, Harrigan handed over $2,300 cash, a cellphone and his identification from his pants pocket, but the gunman demanded more.

"He kept repeating, 'Give me the bread.' If I didn't produce, he would start shooting," said Harrigan, adding that the robber held a snub nose revolver in his face during the entire exchange, which he estimated was no longer than 2 minutes.

About that time, another car pulled into the parking garage and the robber turned and ran in the direction from which he came. Harrigan and his friends then bolted to his apartment and called police.

Later that day, Harrigan picked Mister out of a photo lineup prepared by now-retired Champaign police detective Don Shepard, saying he was "85 percent certain" that he was the robber.

Harrigan said he did not see a second man in the parking garage that day nor was he ever aware of being watched at the casino or being followed on I-74.

Jurors were subjected Tuesday to several hours of videotape surveillance from inside and outside the casino that showed Mister and Williamson walking around Harrigan's craps table and going in and out of the casino to the same car.

They were expected to hear Wednesday about when and where calls made were made from Mister's and Williamson's cellphones.

Mister was also expected to testify on behalf of Williamson.

The trial before Judge Tom Difanis was expected to wrap up Thursday. Williamson is represented by Champaign attorney Dan Jackson.

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