Teen pleads guilty in Champaign home robbery
URBANA — A Champaign teen who admitted his role in the holdup of a woman in her home in March faces up to 30 years in prison when he is sentenced in July.
Marcus Johnson, 17, of the 1700 block of Tara Drive, pleaded guilty Friday before Champaign County Judge Heidi Ladd to a single count of aggravated robbery.
He admitted that on March 18, he took part in robbing a woman in the 700 block of West Harvard Street in Champaign.
Because the victim is over 60, Johnson faces 15 to 30 years in prison. Ladd set sentencing for July 2. In exchange, other charges of armed robbery and home invasion will be dismissed at sentencing.
Co-defendant Erion Davis-Murdock, 15, of Champaign, is set to be back in court June 17 on all those counts. Although both teens are considered juveniles, they were prosecuted as adults because of the gravity of the crime.
Summarizing a Champaign police report, Assistant State’s Attorney Matt Banach told Ladd the 71-year-old mother and her daughter, 15, were home about 8 p.m. when the girl answered a knock at the door. Two young men were present. One, later identified as Davis-Murdock, pushed her out of the way, came in and asked for her brother. The other, later identified as Johnson, pushed the girl onto the couch and pointed a gun at her forehead.
The intruders then took a Kindle Fire and another electronic computer tablet.
The girl’s mother came into the room, saw the two teens yelling at her daughter, and told her to get a phone and call police. The girl grabbed a cordless phone but one of the intruders took it from her. The mother then went into the bathroom to call police on her cellphone but Johnson came in the bathroom and displayed a gun. She then handed over her red flip phone.
The robbers ran from the house west across Prospect Avenue.
En route to the call, police spotted two young men running between houses and behind garages. Sgt. Aaron Lack found Johnson hiding under a pickup truck in a driveway in the 900 block of Harvard. Near him was a red flip phone that was confirmed as the one taken from the resident.
Davis-Murdock was found shortly after walking across Harvard Street. He admitted he had been at an address on Harvard Street with a friend and that he had a backpack but lost it while running. Police found a backpack stuffed under a porch on the rear of a home in the 900 block of Harvard. It had clothing, a cellphone and two computer tablets.
Banach said later, while Johnson and Davis-Murdock were alone briefly in the squad car, the in-car camera recorded the pair laughing about the incident and Johnson reportedly saying that he forgot to throw the resident’s cellphone away. They also discussed the six to 30-year sentencing range for home invasion.
Both teens, Banach said, are members of a gang and also discussed the gang on the videotape.
Banach said no gun was ever fired during the robbery.