Theft of mellophone brings prison term

Theft of mellophone brings prison term

URBANA — Judge Heidi Ladd sentenced a Champaign man to prison for stealing a mellophone from a local high school practice field.

The only problem: the convicted thief didn’t show up for his sentencing hearing.

On Monday, Ladd sentenced C.J. Johnson, 62, who listed an address in the 1000 block of Crescent Drive, Champaign, to five years in prison, with credit for two days already served.

Johnson pleaded guilty on Jan. 2 to one count of theft of property over $300.

According to a police report, a Champaign Central High School mellophone was stolen from a practice field on Sept. 28, 2013.

The mellophone is a three-valved brass instrument used in marching bands.

Following Johnson’s arrest, the Champaign man admitted to police he had taken the instrument and was trying to pawn it.

When Johnson failed to show up for Monday’s hearing, Ladd issued the sentence in absentia anyway — over the objection of Johnson’s attorney, Katie Jessup. Ladd also issued a warrant for Johnson’s arrest.

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787 wrote on March 25, 2014 at 7:03 am

Didn't a man recently steal, sell, and pocket the money from a whole bunch of band instruments that belonged to the U of I, and ended up getting probation from Julia Reitz?

Champaign County deserves better than an amateur like Reitz.  She's simply not qualified for the job.

fedupwithit wrote on March 25, 2014 at 10:03 am

I agree, on the face this seems like a disparaging difference, however when you look at the whole story you see that Mr. Wilson has a criminal history in champaign county alone that dates back to 1987 without much break in his criminal actions to present day, save for whatever time he was actually incarcerated.

What Champaign County needs is the whole story not just political bashing.