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Suspect in South Carolina church shooting facing federal charges, including hate crimes

Twenty-one-year-old Dylann Roof, the suspected shooter in the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church killings in Charleston, SC, was scheduled to be arraigned last Monday, June 20 on new charges of obstructing the practice of religion, hate crimes, and firearms violations five weeks after the tragic killings of nine people.

It has been reported that Roof wants to enter a plea of guilty for the 33 counts he currently faces. His attorney has said that his team cannot advise Roof on this matter until they find out if the government will be seeking the maximum penalty. Of the 33 charges faced by Roof at this time, eighteen carry the death penalty, with the others carrying life sentences following conviction. In addition to these penalties, the charges against Roof could result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Bristow Marchant has entered a plea of not guilty for Roof. Marchant also accepted Roof’s indigent defendant applications, meaning the state will pay his attorney fees. Roof’s defense attorneys must file any pretrial motions by August 20. At this time there are no future hearings scheduled regarding Roof’s case.


Mattoon woman violates three-year probation in car theft case

Illinois resident Abby Mingus, 32, was re-sentenced to 3 ½ years of imprisonment after violating her three year probation for stealing a vehicle in January 2014, the Journal Gazette and Times-Courier reported on June 15.

Her sentence included a provision that required her to attend a treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities program. However, Mingus was charged with retail theft for allegedly stealing merchandise from a Wal-Mart store in Charleston in October 2014, causing the court to re-sentence her for her prior conviction. Mingus was also charged with obstruction of justice and driving with a revoked or suspended license on May 7, 2015.

If you are facing accusations of a crime, especially if you have a prior record, it is critical to quickly enlist the help of a criminal defense team. Call Bruno Law Offices in Champaign at (217) 328-6000 today to learn how our experienced attorneys may fight relentlessly for the best possible result from your case.

Defense attorney Tony Bruno avoids jail time for client

Attorney Tony Bruno recently represented a Champaign resident who was accused of recording a teenage girl without permission, according to a June 17 article in The News-Gazette.

The accused pleaded guilty to unauthorized video recording. Although the Assistant State Attorney argued for a jail term of three years, Bruno managed to reduce the sentence to home detention and a period of probation. The home detention will be monitored by an electrical device for six months. Then, a probation period of 30 months will follow. Bruno said that his client has performed community service work for three years now, and probation would provide him the chance to continue this positive contribution.

The Champaign legal team at Bruno Law Offices is dedicated to fighting for the best possible result in each of our clients’ cases. To learn more about how we may be able to uphold your rights and protect your interests in court, call our offices at (217) 328-6000 today.

Tom Bruno eliminates six of seven charges with plea agreement for client

Daniel Beckwitt was facing seven criminal charges in 2013, to which he originally pleaded not guilty. Six of those charges were eventually dropped after attorney Tom Bruno arranged a plea agreement with Assistant State’s Attorney Matt Banach. In the end, Beckwitt pleaded guilty to a single count of computer fraud, a Class 3 felony. As part of his punishment for the felony, Beckwitt was sentenced to 24 months of probation and made to pay just under $25,000 in fines and restitution.

The original charges stemmed from allegations concerning Beckwitt’s tampering with computers in the University of Illinois’ Everitt Laboratory to gain access to a student’s account with the use of a keyboard logger. By doing so, the affected student was made to commit an academic integrity violation. UI also claimed that the hacking forced the cancellation of a final exam.  Beckwitt was ordered to compensate the University of Illinois over $22,000 to pay for the damages that were associated with the crime that he pleaded guilty to.

Urbana implements new procedure to catch drug dealers

The Urbana Police Division in Illinois has begun sending out patrol officers to make raids on drug tips rather than just its detectives, the Springfield News-Sun reported on April 3.

For instance, police officers raided the house of Urbana locals Steven Inskeep, 57, and Sonda Shafer, 48, wherein they found 20 marijuana plants. Additionally, their warehouse along U.S. Route 36 was raided, and 165 more marijuana plants were found.

A few days prior to this raid, police officers obtained a warrant to search the home of 43-year-old Christina McDonald, who lives at 112 1/3 E. Church Street, where they found prescription medicine and marijuana, as well as evidence relating to a different theft case, according to a statement signed by Urbana Police Chief Matt Lingrell.

If you need a criminal defense lawyer because you have been charged with a crime in the Champaign-Urbana areas of Illinois, get in touch with our experienced attorneys at Bruno Law Offices by calling our offices today at (217) 328-6000.

Champaign man pleads guilty to aggravated robbery, receives 15 years

Forty-two-year-old Champaign County resident Terry Leece was sentenced to 15 years in prison on March 9 by Coles County Circuit Judge Teresa Righter after pleading guilty to charges of aggravated robbery and attempted aggravated robbery, the Journal Gazette & Times-Courier reported.

Leece, who lives in St. Joseph, robbed a Walgreens and attempted to rob a CVS Pharmacy on the same morning in 2012.

His admission of guilt in January was the second time he pleaded guilty; he first did so last June, but he was allowed to withdraw his guilty plea without objection when it was learned two months later that he received incorrect information about the sentence he would be facing should he decide to plead guilty.

Talk to our attorneys of Bruno Law Offices if you have been charged with a criminal offense in the Champaign-Urbana areas of Illinois. Call our offices today at 217-326-6000 to find out how we may protect your future by providing a comprehensive legal defense.

Hoopeston man arrested for cannabis possession

Thirty-four-year-old Hoopeston, Illinois resident Kareem Marshall is currently detained at the Champaign County Jail with a $10,000 bond after being arrested for charges of felony unlawful possession with intent to deliver cannabis, The News-Gazette reported on December 31.

A police report showed that Marshall, holding a duffel bag, asked the clerk on duty at the front desk of a Residence Inn located at 502 W. Marketview Drive C for a key to a room under his girlfriend’s name. The clerk called the police after becoming suspicious of a marijuana smell in Marshall’s presence. The police knocked on the door of Marshall and his girlfriend’s room, but they were not answered.

Police arrested Marshall behind the motel building, where they found him crouched behind an electrical box with the duffel bag on the ground.

A leafy substance inside the duffel bags tested positive for tetrahydrocannabinol, a substance found in the cannabis plant, the police report showed. The three bags weighed 502.5 grams, 138.2 grams, and 14.3 grams, respectively.

The attorneys at Bruno Law Offices are well-known and respected in the field of criminal defense in the Champaign-Urbana areas in Illinois. If you are facing criminal charges, it is critical to the success of your case to immediately enlist the help of a criminal defense attorney, who will work on behalf of your rights and interests. Call our offices today at (217) 328-6000 for an initial consultation with our legal professionals today.

Pair charged with drugs and gun crimes after traffic stop

Twenty-six-year-old New Memphis in Clinton County, Illinois resident Leross Cooks and 26-year-old Rantoul in Champaign County local James Wesley Guy were arrested by Urbana police on November 18 after a traffic violation stop resulted in more serious findings, The News-Gazette reported.

Urbana police Sergeant Dan Morgan said a police officer pulled the suspects’ car over in the 1200 block of Lierman Avenue at around 1:40 p.m. for a supposed traffic violation. Cooks remained in the vehicle, but Guy attempted to run from the police. Guy was apprehended after a brief chase.

Guy, who was found to be wanted for warrants in Ohio, was charged with being a fugitive from justice and being a habitual armed criminal. Cooks, on the other hand, was charged with possession of a controlled substance for allegedly possessing a small amount of hydrocodone when the police arrested him. Two other misdemeanors, possession of cannabis and possession of a firearm without the proper ID card, were pinned on Cooks.

Should you find yourself needing legal representation for a criminal charge in Illinois, call our attorneys at the Bruno Law Offices by dialing 217-328-6000 today.

Champaign man charged with drug crimes

Twenty-nine-year-old Champaign resident Harvey Blakely was charged in the Champaign County Circuit Court with unlawful possession with intent to deliver heroin and cocaine, both of which are Class 1 felonies, after being arrested on Saturday, October 25 and assigned a $500,000 bond, The News-Gazette reported.

Blakely was arrested after a shooting occurred outside the house where he was throwing a party. A Champaign police report showed that authorities responded to sounds of shooting near the area at round 3:55 a.m. and found 24-year-old Champaign local Jermel Hedrick fatally wounded inside a parked truck.

Police obtained a search warrant to search the perimeters of the house and found the contraband – individually wrapped bags of cocaine and heroin – under one of the mattresses.

Our attorneys at Bruno Law Offices in the Champaign area understand that criminal cases are rarely cut and dry. We have experience providing comprehensive defense on behalf of our clients, and we may be able to fight on behalf of your interests, too. Call our offices today at 217-328-6000.

Feds bust extensive drug trafficking network

The United States Attorney’s Office in Chicago, Illinois said in a statement that 22 suspects of a major drug trafficking network stretching from Mexico to six U.S. states had been taken under police custody, with 14 of them arrested in Chicago, California, Iowa, and Pennsylvania this week, an Associated Press article reported.

The suspects were charged with conspiracy or possession with intent to distribute narcotics in three criminal complaints, with some facing at least 40 years of imprisonment if found guilty of their charges. One of the defendants was identified as 37-year-old Lombard, Illinois resident Victor Mata Madrigal, who was known to his colleagues as “Obama.” He was said to be the Chicago-area leader of the drug network.

A criminal complaint showed that almost $4 million in cash was confiscated by the police in Madrigal’s Chicago home in April 2013.

The attorneys at Bruno Law Offices in Champaign have considerable experience providing legal defense for those charged with drug crimes. If you are facing criminal charges, our attorneys may work on your behalf for the most favorable result from your case. Call our offices at 217-328-6000 today to learn more.

Bruno Law Offices
301 W Green St
Urbana, IL 61801
Tel: (217) 328-6000
Fax: (217) 328-6765

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