Champaign man sentenced to 10 years for 2012 shooting

Champaign man sentenced to 10 years for 2012 shooting

URBANA — A Champaign man who experts agreed suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder when he shot his wife two years ago has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

With credit for good time and time already served, Mikal Washington, 35, could be released from prison in about 61/2 years.

Last week, in a hearing before Judge Tom Difanis, Washington pleaded guilty but mentally ill to aggravated battery with a firearm for shooting his now ex-wife, Femi Fletcher-Washington, 33, of Urbana, in the side several times.

Under the terms of a plea agreement negotiated by Assistant State's Attorney Stephanie Weber and defense attorney Alfred Ivy of Urbana, another count of attempted first-degree murder was dismissed.

The charges stemmed from a Dec. 9, 2012, incident in Champaign involving the couple, who had a lengthy history of domestic strife.

About 9:15 p.m. that Sunday, Fletcher-Washington was driving Washington west in the 900 block of Church Street when he apparently opened fire on her without warning, hitting her in the right side several times. The minivan left the road, coming to rest against a house in the 900 block of West Church Street.

Weber said Washington ran from the van and into his apartment building in the 1000 block of West Church. Police tracked him to the basement and had to call the SWAT team to negotiate with him to come out. While in the basement, Washington cut his own throat. A University of Illinois police officer was enlisted to use his Taser on Washington so that police could get him into custody without further harm to himself.

Weber said both Washington and his ex-wife made full physical recoveries. Fletcher-Washington declined to talk about her injuries or the resolution of the case.

Weber said she had discussed the case outcome with Fletcher-Washington.

The prosecutor said she was satisfied with the resolution given that two psychologists opined that Washington was insane at the time of the shooting. A third felt he understood the criminality of his actions and was therefore sane, which is a legal finding.

However, Weber said, all three of the professionals agreed that Washington suffered from PTSD, apparently triggered by his military service in Kuwait and Afghanistan. She said that while serving, he was part of a convoy hit by an improvised explosive device. And after returning home, she said, he was burned in a workplace explosion that one of the psychologists said exacerbated his PTSD.

A guilty but mentally ill plea, Weber said, meant that she had some control over Washington's sentence. Had she taken the case to trial and the jury agreed he was insane, then Washington would have been in the custody of the Department of Human Services.

"If he had been found not guilty by reason of insanity, we have no control. The Department of Human Services could let him go whenever they feel he's ready to be released into the community," she said.

Weber said that Washington had no prior felony convictions but did have prior misdemeanor convictions for driving under the influence, child endangerment and domestic battery. The latter conviction stemmed from a 1999 case involving Fletcher-Washington.

Washington will have to serve 85 percent of his 10-year sentence. He was given credit for 670 days served. He was arrested the same day the shooting happened.

Once released, he'll be on parole for three years.

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