Probation violation sends Urbana man to prison for 7 years

Probation violation sends Urbana man to prison for 7 years

URBANA — An Urbana man who violated his probation for aggravated battery by leaving the state has been resentenced to seven years in prison.

Judge Tom Difanis called Qwantrell Ayres, 23, whose last known address was in the 400 block of South Dodson Drive, a "dangerous" young man who had failed to take advantage of numerous prior opportunities for help.

Ayres was sentenced earlier this year to a year of conditional discharge after pleading guilty to aggravated battery for hitting a man on Dodson Drive on Sept. 20, 2012.

He admitted that he violated the terms of his conditional discharge when he fled to Indiana in June after learning that Champaign police were looking for him in connection with a shooting that happened on Mimosa Drive on June 7.

Ayres had been charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm for allegedly firing at a car in the 1100 block of Mimosa Drive about 1:15 p.m. that day. It was the first in a series of shootings that occurred in Champaign in a four-day period during an unusually violent month.

That charge, however, was dismissed Wednesday by Assistant State's Attorney Troy Lozar after Difanis resentenced Ayres to prison, declining to recommend him for boot camp. Lozar said the witnesses in that alleged shooting had credibility problems.

Lozar had argued for a prison sentence, noting that Ayres had prior adjudications as a juvenile for resisting a police officer, disorderly conduct, and theft, and had spent time in juvenile prison. As an adult, Ayres has been convicted of possessing a firearm with a defaced serial number and aggravated robbery, before the aggravated battery for which he was being resentenced.

Lozar argued that Ayres had numerous prior opportunities at community-based sentences but hadn't taken advantage of them. Ayres' court-appointed attorney, Assistant Public Defender George Vargas, asked the judge to consider probation again, or in the alternative, boot camp.

Ayres told the judge he went to Indianapolis in June on the advice of his former attorney and that he just wanted to relocate to Memphis to be with his two children and their mother, who he said works two jobs and needs him to help her.

Difanis said that Ayres left the state and the reason "is of no real concern to me. This young man is dangerous."

"What we know about Mr. Ayres is he hasn't gotten his education and he's brought two children into the world he is not able to support," said Difanis, noting that Ayres had worked a total of 18 weeks in his entire life.

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