Man's history plays role in 38-year sentence

Man's history plays role in 38-year sentence

URBANA — Saying he needed to fashion a sentence that will deter individuals in similar situations from committing similarly heinous offenses, a Champaign County judge sentenced an Urbana man who participated in an armed robbery of a gas station to 38 years in prison.

With his mother and other family members seated behind him in the courtroom, 24-year-old Kydel Brown turned to them, apologized and said, "Wipe (those) tears, tough times don't last, tough people do."

But Judge Tom Difanis pointed to Brown's criminal history that dates  to a 2006 juvenile adjudication, as well as three other previous felony charges including robbery and unlawful possession of a weapon, in determining his sentence for the July 2016 armed robbery that called for a sentence of 21-45 years.

"We have here a young man who hasn't really made mistakes," Difanis said, "he commits serious felony offenses."

Brown was found guilty in August of the armed robbery at the Shell gas station at 1812 N. Cunningham Ave., U, where he and co-defendant Kelvin T. Hartfield, 22, entered the station at 12:50 a.m. that day with white T-shirts wrapped around their heads and ordered the female clerk to the floor at gunpoint. They made off with cash, cigars, cigarillos and multiple cartons of Newport cigarettes.

In court, it was revealed that Hartfield threatened the clerk with the gun while Brown held the garbage bag that the pair filled with cigarettes.

Hartfield was convicted earlier this year of armed robbery and subsequently firing a gun in the direction of four Champaign County sheriff's deputies who happened upon him shortly after the robbery. Difanis sentenced him in May to 90 years in prison for those offenses.

Assistant State's Attorney Troy Lozar, while recommending a sentence of 42 years for Brown, played a short video obtained from Brown's cellphone dated early July 2016 where the defendant was brandishing handguns while yelling obscenities and the names of some of his associates.

"The defendant has managed to amass a concerningly large number of very serious offenses: Class 1s, Class 2s, burglary, robbery, armed robbery now," Lozar said. "Unequivocally, he is (dangerous). This individual is involving himself with firearms and high-level criminal offenses."

Through his attorney, Assistant Public Defender Stephanie Corum, Brown asked for a furlough of 24-48 hours so that he can see his three young children before being sent of the prison. The motion was denied by Difanis.

In asking for the minimum sentence of 21 years, Corum said that Brown's goal is to be the father that he never had. Corum argued that as Brown has tried to straighten out his life, various barriers have prevented that. He says lack of job opportunities have prevented him from finding work and when he was participating in GED courses, the system turned over just as he was preparing to take the exam.

"Through no fault of his own, he never got the opportunity to make good on something he was trying to do in his life; something he was trying to change," Corum said. "Mr. Brown understands where he wants to be but doesn't know how to get there."

Brown's mother, Dionishia Terry, took the stand on Tuesday and admitted that while her son has made some mistakes, he shouldn't pay for them for an extended amount of time.

"He's 24 and at this point, the trial is over and we make mistakes. I just don't feel like he should pay for it for the rest of his life by any means," Terry said. "He's a pretty all-right guy. His children love him, that's my main thing is him not being able to be there to be around them for an extensive amount of time so he can help show them things you should and should not do."

Acknowledging concern about Brown's children having to go on with their father incarcerated for a lengthy term, Difanis said he still felt it necessary to issue a sentence that would be a deterrent for Brown and others.

"The video played in the court today, again, was somewhat chilling," Difanis said of Brown, who will get credit for 178 days already served. "(It) is an indication of the history, character and condition of this defendant."

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GLG wrote on October 10, 2017 at 5:10 pm

He will find out just how tough he is when he gets to prison!

RatDog wrote on October 11, 2017 at 9:10 am

Jail is going to jail (look at his first name in the caption). BWAHAHAHA Looks like even his own mother didnt have too high-a hopes for him.

rsp wrote on October 10, 2017 at 5:10 pm

Through his attorney, Assistant Public Defender Stephanie Corum, Brown asked for a furlough of 24-48 hours so that he can see his three young children before being sent of the prison.

He should have done that before court. He knew what was gong to happen. Then again, he should have thought about them before he walked into the gas station.

I'm so tired of people hiding behind their kids. Especially after they haven't taken care of them. I know of people who pick up cans for their kids, sell plasma for their kids. Go without food so their kids will have dinner.

So sick of this.

787 wrote on October 10, 2017 at 8:10 pm

Kydel should have been home with his kids, if they are so important in his life, instead of being out and robbing that gas station.

"Pretty all right guys" put their kids first, Ms. Terry.  Now you can help raise his kids for him.

So tired of this crap.

RatDog wrote on October 11, 2017 at 10:10 am

Mrs Terry messed up with Jail. Those poor kids dont have a chance unless they're adopted out to responsible people which certainly doesnt include the childrens mother(s).

RatDog wrote on October 11, 2017 at 9:10 am

Mrs Terry, mother of Jail Brown (why do they always have different last names?) wants Jail Brown to have the opportunity of showing his kids what they should & shouldn't do. Well, Jail's showing them what they shouldnt do: get caught robbing gas stations. I'm sure the "get caught" part of my statement is the pertinent part of that education to these people..

ChampaignMomofThree wrote on October 12, 2017 at 3:10 pm

The picture is from Champaign County Jail. I believe they just forgot a comma. Even in the article it states his name as Kydel.