Men sentenced to federal prison over armed robberies

Men sentenced to federal prison over armed robberies

URBANA — Two Urbana men involved in a series of armed holdups in Champaign two years ago have been sentenced to several years in federal prison.

U.S. District Court Judge Michael McCuskey on Friday sentenced Prentice A. Taylor, 58, to 47 years and eight months for four heists.

On Thursday, McCuskey sentenced William Terry Jackson, 36, to nine years in prison for three of those holdups.

Both men were involved in a spate of bank, credit union and business armed robberies in 2012 but pleaded guilty to slightly different charges.

A third man, Ronald Wilkerson, 45, of Champaign, was also involved in some of the robberies. He is serving a 120-year prison sentence he received in Champaign County Circuit Court last summer for two bank robberies.

Wilkerson was convicted in May 2013 by a jury of:

— Armed robbery for the May 8, 2012, holdup of the Central Illinois Credit Union, 2106 W. John St., C. About $19,500 was taken.

— Armed robbery for the May 21, 2012, holdup of the Marine Bank, 1001 S. Neil St., C.

He had 1988 convictions for attempted murder and armed robbery out of Macon County for holding up a convenience store and beating two female clerks there with lead pipes. Wilkerson was sentenced to 40 years for that but served half. He also had a 2010 drug conviction.

In light of his 120-year sentence, a prosecutor dismissed a rape charge filed over a May 2012 attack on an Urbana woman in her home but only after Champaign County Judge Tom Difanis heard evidence about it at his sentencing.

Federal authorities chose to prosecute Taylor and Jackson.

Jackson pleaded guilty in September in federal court to:

— Robbery for the April 16, 2012, holdup of the Mobil Super Pantry, 1511 N. Prospect Ave., C; $9,000 in cash was taken from an employee as she was about to get in her car with a bank deposit.

— Bank robbery for the May 8, 2012, holdup of the Central Illinois Credit Union, 2106 W. John St., C.

— Bank robbery for the May 21, 2012, holdup of the Marine Bank, 1001 S. Neil St., C.

— Using a firearm during a violent offense and possession of a firearm by a felon for having the gun during the holdup of the Marine Bank.

Taylor had pleaded guilty last August to:

— Robbery for the April 16, 2012, holdup of the Mobil Super Pantry, 1511 N. Prospect Ave., C.

— Robbery for the March 24, 2012 holdup of the McDonald's at 501 N. Mattis Ave., C.

— Bank robbery for the May 8, 2012, holdup of the Central Illinois Credit Union, 2106 W. John St., C.

— Using a firearm during a violent offense and possession of a firearm by a felon for having the gun during those holdups.

Taylor had a prior conviction for armed robbery from Champaign County in 2002 for robbing an Urbana gas station in December 2000. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison for that.

McCuskey ordered Taylor to make restitution to McDonald's, Mobil Super Pantry and the Central Illinois Credit Union totaling $29,914.

Should Taylor ever be released from prison, he would have to serve three years of mandatory supervised release.

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