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Gang rap videos used in murder trial still questionable

Champaign County Judge Tom Difanis issued a ruling that two violent gang rap videos cannot be used as “substantive evidence” in the defense of 18-year-old Champaign, Illinois resident Shamario Brown. Brown was charged with first-degree murder and aggravated discharge of a firearm, leading the judge to say the videos can be used to discredit the credibility of state witnesses.

Brown is set to be tried on Monday, January 30 for the June 12, 2016 murder of 30-year-old Champaign resident Ericka Cox-Bailey, who died when a bullet from a passing car struck her as she was walking along Francis Drive near McKinley Avenue. Police officials say the shots that killed her were intended for members of a rival gang. Champaign resident Oshay Cotton and East Macon, Georgia resident Takario Greene, both 19, who were inside the passing car with Brown, were also charged for Cox-Bailey’s murder.

We at the Bruno Law Offices are problem solvers and are great with overcoming challenges. As such, individuals who are charged with criminal offenses should know we will come up with comprehensive and strategic legal defenses. Call our Champaign offices today at (217) 328-6000 to discuss your case.

Man walks free after DNA evidence exonerates him from murder charge

Fifty-five-year-old Chicago resident Mark Maxson was released from Stateville Correctional Center last Tuesday, September 27 after a Cook County judge ruled Maxson did not commit his crimes. Maxson went to jail for the 1992 rape and murder of six-year-old boy Lindsey Murdock, but DNA evidence showed he was actually innocent.

The Cook County District Attorney’s Office supported exonerating Maxson, noting that no physical evidence linked Maxson to the crime. In addition, defense attorney Elliott Zinger said a re-investigation discovered Maxson’s confession was merely coerced by members of the Chicago Police Department under John Burge.

If you are a resident of Champaign-Urbana or another area of Illinois and you are in danger of going to prison for a crime such as a sexual offense, murder, or assault, trust the attorneys at the Bruno Law Offices to competently handle your case. Call our offices today at (217) 328-6000 to schedule an initial appointment with a qualified member of our legal team.

Murderer of Danville woman sentenced to 17 years

Forty-five-year-old Danville resident George Harold Chapman faced first-degree murder charges in the death of 43-year-old Danville resident Angelica Vasquez. Around 7:45 a.m. on Sept. 27, 2011, Vasquez was found burned and half-clothed on the property of an abandoned farmhouse at 1315 N. Rising Road, just north of Bradley Avenue near Champaign.

In June, Vermillion County Circuit Judge Tom O’Shaughnessy sentenced Chapman to 17 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections after Chapman pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of second-degree murder. Assistant State’s Attorney Sandy Lawlyes, who negotiated the plea agreement, said Chapman believed that his crime was done in self-defense. Lawlyes further claimed she “was concerned about a lesser offense being found by the jury after presentation by the defense…[and] felt the circumstances warranted a plea that would guarantee a guilty verdict.”

Murder charges are extremely serious allegations that can have debilitating effects on all aspects of your life. The criminal defense attorneys at The Bruno Law Offices in Champaign offer the most aggressive criminal defense strategies possible. Call our offices today at (217) 328-6000 to learn more.

Witness denies claims that she implicated defendant in murder trial

Twenty-two-year-old Champaign resident Dashiona Fonville was arrested so that a jury could hear her testimony in a murder trial. According to The News-Gazette, Fonville claimed at least 120 times on Wednesday, June 22 that she could not remember much of her former testimony concerning the murder. Fonville originally claimed 22-year-old Champaign resident Brandon Collier was involved in the fatal shooting of 30-year-old Terron Jackson.

Judge Tom Difanis said the jury will have access to the recorded statement that Fonville gave to Champaign police investigators Andre Davis and Brad Krauel to have more information on the case. Another witness, 23-year-old Charnise Caraway, has also said that Collier was the shooter.

The attorneys at the Bruno Law Offices provide legal services to our clients in the Champaign-Urbana area and other areas of East Central Illinois. We are here to help people charged with criminal offenses in the state of Illinois, and we are committed to delivering high-quality criminal defense representation. Call our offices today at (217) 328-6000 to discuss your legal options.

Danville man gets 33 years in prison for second-degree murder

Thirty-eight-year-old Danville, Illinois resident Jason Roberts  was sentenced to 33 years in prison on Tuesday, May 31. His crimes include striking Dylan Scales, the boyfriend of his ex-girlfriend Michelle Crawley, with a baseball bat, and fatally hitting Robert Collins with his vehicle, in October 2015.

Roberts was supposed to stand trial on first-degree murder and aggravated driving under the influence charges for the Oct. 22, 2015 death of Collins, but his charges were reduced to second-degree murder after he made a guilty plea. Roberts was also charged with aggravated battery for striking Scales on Oct. 21, 2015, just a few hours after the incident with Collins.

The attorneys at the Bruno Law Offices provide legal services for our clients in Champaign-Urbana and other areas of Illinois. We handle criminal defense cases ranging from theft and burglary to drug possession and homicide. If you have been convicted of a crime, call our offices today at (217) 328-6000 to discuss your legal options.

Illinois man sentenced to 107 years for 2013 murder

Twenty-three-year-old Kamron Taylor was sentenced to 107 years by Kankakee County Circuit Judge Kathy Bradshaw-Elliott on May 11 for the shooting death of 21-year-old Nelson Williams, Jr., during a failed robbery back in 2013, according to a report in the Kankakee Daily Journal.

Bradshaw-Elliott told Taylor that he was a threat to the community and repeatedly proved to be dangerous. In April of this year, Taylor escaped from the Jerome Combs Detention Center before being re-captured three days later.

The defense team called a mitigation specialist to the stand, who had written a 15 page report on Taylor’s past, including evidence of abuse by relatives since the age of 3.

The criminal defense attorneys at the Bruno Law Offices understand that a conviction of criminal charges can affect your reputation, career, and your freedom. This is why it is critical to enlist the help of an experienced defense team as early on in the process as possible. Call our offices at (217) 328-6000 today to learn more about protecting your future.

Shooting suspect to stand for his defense

Thirty-year-old Champaign, Illinois resident Micah Hopkins was recently tried before the Champaign County Judge Heidi Ladd for charges of first-degree murder, the News-Gazette reported on April 8.

This was the same day that Hopkins was slated to stand for his own defense. Hopkins was accused of shooting and killing Allen Redding, 26, who used to be his friend before a dispute arose about money.

Forensic pathologist Dr. Shiping Bao, said Redding could have remained alive with seven gunshot wounds but not the eighth, as the bullet pierced through his aorta and resulted in internal bleeding that quickly killed him.

A gun was found next to Redding, and witnesses have various accounts that include a second shooter.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Champaign, the legal team at the Bruno Law Offices may work to protect your future. For an initial appointment with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys, call our offices at (217) 328-6000 today.

Washington Park man pleads guilty to first-degree murder

Harold Ivy, 28, has pled guilty to the 2007 attempted robbery and murder of Washington Park clerk Loai Motan. He was convicted on the charge of first-degree murder and was sentenced to 37 years in prison.

During the attempted robbery on May 31, 2007, Ivy fatally shot Motan and injured his brother.

Prosecutors attempted to get Ivy the maximum 60 year sentence and the defense attempted to get Ivy the minimum 20 year sentence. With a 37 year sentence and credit for the seven years he has already spent in the county jail, Ivy will be 58 years old before he is eligible for release.

Criminal charges can put your entire professional and personal life at stake. Should you find yourself accused of a criminal charge, don’t hesitate to contact the Bruno Law Offices at (217) 328-6000 during this crucial time.

Probable cause found to continue Illinois Casey murder trial

Probable cause was found on Wednesday, March 19 to continue the trial of 19-year-old Thomas Messina. Messina was charged for the murder of 54-year-old Casey resident, Gregory Scott Collins.

Messina plead not guilty to the murder charges and asked for a jury trial. The pre-trial hearing is scheduled for April 23. June 10 will mark the first day of the actual trial.

During the preliminary hearing, Illinois State Police special agent Timothy Brown told the court that Messina admitted to having stabbed Collins on Jan. 15, 2014 while in police custody. Brown also mentioned that blood found at the crime scene was positively identified as Messina’s.

Serious criminal charges could be detrimental to your personal and professional life. If you have been charged with a crime in Champaign, the attorneys at the Bruno Law Offices might be able to represent your case. Call our offices at (217) 328-6000 to discuss your situation with one of our skilled attorneys.


Humboldt man pleads not guilty to homicide

The second of two suspects in a fatal heroine overdose case plead not guilty on Monday, February 24.

Caleb Thomas, 29, of Humboldt denied responsibility for the December 25, 2013 death of Jeremy Reeley. Reeley’s death was caused by a heroine overdose. Both Thomas and Damien Brooks were charged with drug-induced homicide.

Police accounts of the case showed that Thomas and Brooks went to Champaign on December 24 and bought heroin. The two went to use the drugs they purchased with other people in Brooks’ house, which lead to Reeley’s overdose.

Criminal charges have the potential to ruin personal and professional opportunities. If you face serious criminal charges in Champaign, the attorneys at the Bruno Law Offices have the knowledge to defend your case. Speak with a member of our legal team today by calling (217) 328-6000.

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