Man gets six years in prison over Rantoul shooting
URBANA — A Tennessee man has been sentenced to six years in prison for his role in the shooting death of a rural Rantoul man more than two years ago.
Joseph Emery, 35, pleaded guilty Tuesday before Champaign County Judge Jeff Ford to a single count of aggravated battery with a firearm for the Jan. 7, 2011, shooting of Marcus "Boo Man" Brown, 21. Other counts of first-degree murder were dismissed against Emery in return for his plea.
Mr. Brown was found dead in his apartment at the Bell Apartments complex on U.S. 136 east of Rantoul. Because there were no signs of a struggle, authorities initially thought he may have died of an asthma attack. An autopsy later revealed he had been shot once in the back of the head with most of the bleeding being internal.
Champaign County sheriff's investigators learned that Mr. Brown had been robbed of a laptop computer, Xbox game and a small amount of cannabis.
Emery and two other men, Steven Monroe, 29, and Roy Duckworth Jr., 29, both of Rantoul, were eventually linked to the shooting through a bullet recovered in another crime that happened in Rantoul later on the same day as Mr. Brown's shooting. Forensics showed that the bullets came from the same gun, which Monroe was found to have in his pocket.
It took three trials but Monroe was convicted in December 2012 of Mr. Brown's murder and was subsequently sentenced to 58 years in prison.
At the time of his sentencing, Monroe continued to maintain his innocence.
Assistant State's Attorney Steve Ziegler said it was circumstantial evidence and the statements of other witnesses that led to Monroe being convicted as the shooter.
Ziegler said because of Monroe's credibility issues, he allowed Duckworth to plead guilty to armed robbery for a 10-year prison sentence for stealing the computer, and Emery to plead guilty to the aggravated battery with a firearm charge for being present when the shooting happened.
Emery was given credit on his sentence for one year and nine months already served. Under truth-in-sentencing, Emery will have to serve at least five years in prison. Ziegler said Emery had prior convictions for domestic battery and possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.