Champaign woman convicted of storming house, attacking woman

 

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URBANA — A Champaign woman whose apparent anger over another woman being with her man is headed to prison for at least six years following her conviction for home invasion.

A Champaign County jury found Isis Heath, 27, who listed an address in the 500 block of West Beardsley Avenue, guilty after about two hours of deliberation Wednesday.

Judge Tom Difanis set sentencing for Jan. 2, revoked Heath's bond and sent her to jail. She could get up to 30 years in prison.

Heath was charged with busting open the door of a home in the 1100 block of West Bradley Avenue, Champaign, and attacking the woman who lived there after confirming that a man in whom they both had a love interest was present.

Testimony in the three-day trial revealed that the attack took place about 3:50 a.m. on Aug. 20, 2017.

The victim testified that she and the man heard knocking at a window, then at the door, followed by the front door being kicked in and Heath appearing.

The woman came from her bedroom and said she was rushed by Heath. In the struggle, she sustained a puncture wound under her eye that took six stitches to close.

She said the wound was so deep that for the next 30 days, blood dripped down the back of her throat, causing her to throw up regularly.

She also received a wound to the top of her head that required staples to close and other cuts on her back.

The injuries were inflicted by Heath, who was wearing long acrylic fingernails that apparently had the effect of claws.

The victim got away from Heath and went to her kitchen to arm herself with a knife. By the time she returned, Heath had gone outside and eventually left.

The injured woman then called police.

After hearing from the victim, Champaign County sheriff's deputies went to the nearby home of Heath to talk to her. She denied having broken into the woman's home and instead suggested that her boyfriend had come to her house and took items from her.

As deputies spoke with her, they noted she was not wearing fake fingernails. She told them she hadn't worn the fake nails for at least two days, contrary to a report from a deputy who had stopped her a day before for a traffic violation and noted she had them then.

Deputies did not immediately arrest Heath, as they tried to sort out the varying versions of what they had been told.

An acrylic nail was recovered at the victim's home, and tests run by the state crime lab revealed it had Heath's DNA on it.

At trial, Heath testified she had gone to the woman's house but that her boyfriend had let her in. She said they had a disagreement at the door and that the victim came from the bedroom naked. A worked-up Heath said her boyfriend tried to restrain her but that she broke free and fought with the other woman. However, she characterized the other woman as the aggressor. She also said she didn't know how the door frame was damaged.

Assistant State's Attorney Troy Lozar argued that he had presented ample evidence to prove that Heath was guilty of home invasion: that she was not a police officer, that she entered the dwelling of another knowing one or more people were present, and that she intentionally injured the woman living there.

Lozar said Heath's assertion that she didn't know how the woman's front door was shattered was "ridiculous."Heath's attorney, Alfred Ivy of Urbana, argued to the jury that it made no sense that Heath would have gone to the house intending to start a fight.

"She didn't know they were in there in bed together. Why would she have kicked in the door if she doesn't know they are in there doing anything?" he said.

Ivy argued that Heath was upset with her boyfriend but didn't go to the other woman's home to start a fight.

Reporter

Mary Schenk is a reporter covering police, courts and breaking news at The News-Gazette. Her email is mschenk@news-gazette.com, and you can follow her on Twitter (@schenk).