James E. Wiley

James E. Wiley

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URBANA — A Champaign man who pleaded guilty to possessing a gun he was not supposed to have has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

In return for James Wiley’s guilty plea Tuesday to being an armed habitual criminal, the state dismissed criminal charges of home invasion and unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon alleging that Wiley forced his way into a neighbor’s home and fired shots while inside.

Wiley, 40, of the 1500 block of King’s Way, was charged in connection with a Dec. 7 incident at a home in the same block where he was living.

Champaign County sheriff’s investigators were called to the victim’s home very early on Dec. 7 and learned that Wiley had come in through a back door demanding that the woman who lived there with her boyfriend and children repay him for something he claimed her children took from him.

The woman and her teenage children were in the living room while the other adult in the house was in the bathroom.

Wiley allegedly fired two rounds in the house and, as he was leaving, fired another. He then went to his own home, where he remained inside and wouldn’t come out when deputies arrived.

The METRO tactical team was called, and Wiley came out a few hours later.

Assistant State’s Attorney Victoria Dedman said a court-authorized search of his home turned up a bolt-action rifle in his garage and a handgun magazine in the basement.

Dedman said because of Wiley was convicted in Cook County of attempted murder in 2005 and aggravated battery in 2003, he is not supposed to have weapons.

Wiley’s trial on the Class X home invasion counts was supposed to start Tuesday morning, but he opted to plead guilty before Judge Roger Webber.

Dedman told Webber that besides the underlying felonies that qualified Wiley as an armed habitual criminal, he also had prior convictions for possession of a controlled substance and conspiracy to commit unlawful use of weapons.

Wiley was given credit on his sentence for 264 days already served.

His attorney, Alfred Ivy, asked Webber to recommend Wiley for substance abuse treatment while he’s in prison, noting that Wiley was “severely intoxicated” at the time of the December incident.

The judge agreed to do that but denied a request by Wiley for a furlough before being shipped to the Department of Corrections.

The News-Gazette


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).