Man sent to prison after violating probation
URBANA — A Champaign man found to have violated his probation for aggravated battery by shooting at a man has been resentenced to 10 years in prison.
Champaign County Judge Tom Difanis on Wednesday called Andre Winters, 28, who last lived in the 2000 block of Cynthia Drive, "dangerous" and said the facts of the offense that caused his probation to be revoked were "strikingly similar" to the underlying aggravated battery for which he was being resentenced.
In February a jury acquitted Winters of aggravated discharge of a firearm and of being an armed habitual criminal in connection with an Oct. 12 shooting that happened in the 2600 block of High Street in east Urbana involving Ernest Mosley, 43, of Urbana.
While the jury acquitted Winters of firing three shots at Mosley, Difanis said he found Mosley "incredibly credible" and relied on his testimony, as well as other circumstantial evidence, to find that Winters had indeed fired the gun.
The standard for a judge in a probation revocation hearing is proof by "a preponderance of the evidence" while a jury has to believe there is proof "beyond a reasonable doubt" to convict.
Winters was on probation for an aggravated battery that happened a year ago. On April 7, 2013, testimony showed, a Decatur man said a woman he was with accidently bumped Winters as they were leaving Bradley's, a bar in west Champaign.
Assistant State's Attorney Troy Lozar called the victim of that beating, Anthony Jones, 29, to testify. He told the judge that after Winters and the lady bumped into each other, Winters "got in my face."
Jones, a soldier in the U.S. Army, told Winters he didn't want any trouble and said the next thing he knew he was "balled up" on the ground in self-defense being kicked repeatedly by several men.
Jones said he needed several stitches in his head, suffered a concussion and lost a tooth in the attack. He also missed work while recovering. Asked what was on his face in a photo that Lozar showed him, Jones replied: "That's a shoeprint, sir."
Lozar said Bradley's employees who saw the attack identified Winters as the main aggressor.
Lozar recommended a prison term for Winters, noting his prior convictions for battery, obstructing justice, burglary, theft, possession with intent to deliver cannabis and several traffic offenses. He said Winters did little to support his three children and has a sporadic work history.
Winters' attorney, Assistant Public Defender Jamie Propps, argued that the aggravated battery was only the second felony conviction for her client, who needs community-based help for a cannabis addiction.
In delivering the extended term sentence, Difanis noted that the beating outside Bradley's sounded just like what happened to Mosley the night he was fired upon.
Testimony at Winters' jury trial showed that Mosley was at a downtown Champaign bar and bumped into Winters as they left at the same time. Winters started a verbal confrontation that culminated in him and other men following Mosley to his own Urbana neighborhood and firing at him. Mosley was not hit by gunfire.