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.