Judge to rule on whether teen found with loaded gun will be tried as an adult

Judge to rule on whether teen found with loaded gun will be tried as an adult

URBANA — A hearing will be held later this summer to determine whether a teen found with a loaded gun in Douglass Park one day before his 18th birthday will be charged as an adult.

Jamonhe Watkins, who listed an address in the 500 block of East Beardsley Avenue, Champaign, was charged in juvenile court on Thursday with not having a valid Firearm Owner Identification card, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of firearm ammunition and resisting a peace officer.

Assistant State’s Attorney Matt Banach asked that Watkins be tried as an adult because he is now 18 years old, because he has a delinquency history and because the incident happened while Watkins was on parole with the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Judge Heidi Ladd agreed to hold a hearing on Banach’s motion at a later date. Watkins is due back in court on July 16.

According to their report, Champaign police learned that some people had guns in the Douglass Park area at about 1:10 p.m. Wednesday.

When officers arrived, they saw Watkins and another person in the park. When the officers began to approach them, both individuals began to run away.

As Watkins continued to run, police saw him throw a gun by a tree near the playground in Douglass Park.

While a detective recovered a .38 caliber revolver loaded with five live rounds from where Watkins threw it, another officer caught and arrested Watkins.

The officer then found four more rounds of ammunition in Watkins’ pocket.

When police interviewed Watkins, he admitted possession and throwing the gun.

Watkins told police he was keeping the gun for protection following a situation involving gunfire on Northwood Drive about a week ago.

Watkins is on parole from the Department of Juvenile Justice for a 2012 burglary.

He also has prior juvenile adjudications for burglary, resisting a peace officer and aggravated battery dating back to 2009, all of which resulted in prior sentences to juvenile prison.

On Thursday, police were still looking for the second individual who had been seen at Douglass Park.

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rsp wrote on July 11, 2014 at 8:07 am

He obviously needs protected from himself. That many times through the system and out on parole and he thinks it's okay to throw a loaded gun down by a playground? He's grown enough to take responsibility as an adult.