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URBANA — A Champaign teen who displayed two different guns on social-media posts in late June and July is being held in the Juvenile Detention Center pending his sentencing.

The 16-year-old pleaded guilty Friday before Judge Roger Webber to three counts of possession of firearms by a juvenile, just a week after turning himself in.

The teen was one of four young men in a vehicle that Champaign County Street Crimes Task Force members had stopped in north Champaign about 3 p.m. July 24 to arrest some of its occupants on warrants for weapons possession.

The teen and another wanted male got away from police, who caught Joaquin Hughes and Tyrone Fulwiley, both 18 and from Champaign.

Fulwiley remains in the county jail on charges of aggravated battery to a peace officer and possession with intent to deliver cannabis. He allegedly kicked an officer several times in the back as the officer tried to get him into custody. He also had about 3 ounces of cannabis and a digital scale in a fanny pack, State’s Attorney Julia Rietz said.

Hughes, who was arrested on a warrant for unlawful possession of weapon for allegedly displaying a gun on social media, was released Thursday after posting bond and is due back in court Sept. 8.

Rietz said Hughes and the teen who pleaded guilty Friday were part of a group called the “Get Back Gang” who posted photos on Instagram and Snapchat of themselves brandishing handguns on different occasions at various locations.

Champaign police were tipped to the posts and a weapons expert determined that the guns in the posts were real weapons, Rietz said.

The teen admitted displaying the same gun on June 26 or 27 and July 15 and a different gun on June 29. A Class 4 felony, the offense is eligible for probation.

The teen asked through his attorney, Assistant Public Defender Ramona Sullivan, to be released to his mother while awaiting sentencing. He wrote the judge a letter, saying he was ready to take responsibility for his behavior and associate with better people and wanted to be present for the birth of his own child and a sibling.

Sullivan said the fact that he pleaded guilty, had turned himself in after running from police and had displayed good behavior while in detention spoke well of her client.

“It appears he has made good decisions for five days. Before that, he made extraordinarily bad decisions,” said Rietz, who objected to his release. She noted the teen was on parole for a weapons offense when he was seen on the social-media posts with the guns, which she told the judge have not been found by police.

“Given the fact that the guns and a co-defendant are still out there, it’s the state’s opinion he cannot be trusted,” she argued.

Webber agreed, saying he might have felt differently if the teen had helped police locate the guns or the other young man.

“I find you still represent a danger to yourself and others,” the judge said.

He set sentencing for Sept. 3.


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