Jefferson Middle student gets 2 years probation for bringing stun gun to school

Jefferson Middle student gets 2 years probation for bringing stun gun to school

URBANA — A 15-year-old Champaign youth who admitted he brought a stun gun to his middle school in March has been sentenced to two years of probation.

"The respondent minor made a mistake possessing that stun gun, let alone bringing it to school," said Judge Tom Difanis.

The judge also ordered him to perform 50 hours of public service, write a letter of apology and abide by rules set by his mother, including an 8 p.m. curfew.

The teen pleaded guilty last month to unlawful use of a weapon in connection with his arrest March 9 for having the gun in his locker at Jefferson Middle School.

State's Attorney Julia Rietz said another student at school saw the teen with a gun and called his mother, who notified school authorities.

The youth was arrested after the gun was found in his locker. Rietz said he was suspended from the school and is receiving home schooling from Unit 4.

Rietz and the youth's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Katie Jessup, agreed that he could benefit from probation with rules, given his lack of prior criminal activity and his demonstrated ability to follow rules, both in detention and at home, since his arrest.

"He is remorseful," said Jessup, who said she doesn't always see that in her clients. "He's well on his way to rehabilitation."

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