URBANA — A Champaign man who admitted he had ammunition in a vehicle about a year ago has been sentenced to five years in prison.
Judge Randy Rosenbaum acknowledged that Javon Jones, 25, had a “rough upbringing” with no father in his life, a mother who abandoned him and mental-health issues.
Still, the judge said, Jones is not allowed to use that as an excuse for committing crimes.
Rosenbaum’s sentence was half of what Jones, who last lived in the 3600 block of Colleen Drive, could have received after pleading guilty to unlawful possession of ammunition by a felon. He had previous convictions for residential burglary, attempted burglary, theft and obstructing identification.
Jones pleaded guilty in August to possessing several bullets and a magazine for a gun that were in a vehicle stopped by Champaign County Street Crimes Task Force officers on Sept. 24, 2020, on North Cunningham Avenue in Urbana.
Task Force member Lance Carpenter testified that police stopped the Chevrolet Suburban, which belonged to Jones’ girlfriend, because it was believed to be involved in an Aug. 19 shooting near Fourth and Tremont streets in Champaign.
Carpenter testified that surveillance video from that shooting showed shots from that vehicle were directed at a man who has both been a victim and a suspect in other area shootings.
The target, who was not hit, was “less than forthcoming” with police who were trying to find the shooter, the detective said.
What police were able to learn, Carpenter said, is that Jones admitted he was in the vehicle with another man but said that the other man fired out the window.
Assistant State’s Attorney Kristin Alferink dismissed charges of aggravated discharge of a firearm and reckless discharge of a firearm against Jones in return for his guilty plea to possessing the firearm ammunition.
Rosenbaum agreed with her argument that even if Jones was not the shooter, he was still accountable for the actions of the man who did fire the gun.
Alferink also dismissed another felony case of aggravated criminal sexual abuse alleging that Jones had sex with a 14-year-old girl in May 2020. She later gave birth, naming Jones as the father and telling a forensic interviewer that despite Jones knowing her age, they continued a sexual relationship.
Later, she recanted and said he broke it off after learning she was only 14.
Alferink argued for a sentence of nine years in prison for Jones, while Assistant Public Defender Matt Ham asked for the minimum two years.
Ham said Jones has five children, only one with whom he has much contact, but knows he needs to separate himself from negative influences so that he can provide for the children. Since posting bond in late August, Ham said Jones has had no police contacts and has been working.
Ham also argued that once Jones knew the real age of the girl with whom he had sex, he ended the relationship.
Jones asked the judge for a minimal sentence, saying he understood his past behavior was bad and that he intends to change.
Rosenbaum declined a request by Jones to remain free to attend his aunt’s funeral this weekend, saying his involvement in street crime created too much of a risk for him to be out.