URBANA — A 19-year-old Champaign man convicted of the armed robbery of a cab driver that occurred last August has been sentenced to 28 years in prison.
Judge Heidi Ladd imposed the sentence on Sandie Starns, who was convicted by a jury in March of the Aug. 19, 2011, armed robbery of Ron Koehler, a taxi driver for Yellow Cab.
After Koehler pulled over to a house in north Champaign as directed, Starns demanded cash from him. When Koehler tried to radio for help, Starns put a rope around his neck and pulled it tight.
Koehler was able to pull the rope from his neck and get out of his van. Starns then took off.
Starns was developed as a suspect through information police had about other cab robberies that had occurred in August in Champaign and Urbana and through a co-defendant, who's now serving a 23-year prison sentence for another cab driver armed robbery.
Assistant State's Attorney Adam Dill said Starns had been on parole from the Department of Juvenile Justice only days when he began the cab robberies. Starns had prior convictions as a juvenile for aggravated battery and theft and one for burglary as an adult.
Because Koehler was not seriously injured, Starns is eligible for day-for-day good time on his sentence.