Rantoul man receives 15-year sentence for second-degree murder

URBANA — A Rantoul man who believed he was justified in defending himself against a man who later died of stab wounds has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Jarvis Garrett, 27, who listed an address in the 200 block of Keystone Drive, pleaded guilty Wednesday to second-degree murder for the Jan. 18 death of Fate Young, 21, of Rantoul.

More serious charges of first-degree murder, which carry a possible sentence of 20 to 60 years, were dismissed. Garrett is eligible for day-for-day good time.

Assistant State's Attorney Tim Sullivan said evidence developed by Rantoul police investigators showed that the two men were arguing that night over a drug debt that Garrett owed Mr. Young.

Sullivan said police found Mr. Young unresponsive in his apartment in the 1300 block of Harmon Drive just after 10 p.m. He had several stab wounds in his neck and chest. Police found two kitchen knives on a chair, one of them bloody, and a BB gun on the couch.

About 20 minutes later, Garrett showed up at Carle Hospital with bloody clothing and a bloody nose. He left against medical advice.

The next day, police found a four-door red car — like the one Garrett arrived at Carle in and like one seen on video surveillance leaving Mr. Young's apartment — at Garrett's mother's address on Keystone. In a nearby dumpster, police found a pair of bloody shoes.

Garrett, who was on parole for a drug-related conviction, was interviewed by Rantoul police and parole agents.

He told police that Mr. Young had sold drugs to him on several occasions and that Mr. Young had recently "fronted" him about $40 worth of cocaine, for which Mr. Young wanted payment on Jan. 18.

Sullivan said Garrett told police he took his mother's television to pay off the debt. The video surveillance footage from a nearby business confirmed that a person carried a television in to Mr. Young's apartment and came out later without it.

Garrett told police that he and Mr. Young were arguing over the debt when Mr. Young reportedly produced a BB gun from under the cushion of the couch. The two got into a physical tussle and Garrett grabbed a knife off the table and slashed at Mr. Young, unsure if he had stabbed him.

Garrett told police that Mr. Young overpowered him, hit him and choked him before taking the knife from him.

Garrett was able to get out of the apartment and then returned to his mother's, Sullivan said.

Sullivan said another witness was prepared to testify that Mr. Young was known to sell drugs and had a small amount in his apartment earlier the day he died.

Sullivan said prosecutors took all that into consideration in negotiating a plea agreement to the less serious second-degree murder.

The charge states that Garrett believed he needed to use deadly force to defend himself from Mr. Young but that his belief was "unreasonable."

"Through investigating, they (police) found out that the defendant's version is plausible but it still didn't justify his use of deadly force," said Sullivan, who worked on the case with Assistant State's Attorney Matt Banach.

Garrett was represented by Public Defender Janie Miller. Judge Roger Webber accepted his guilty plea.

Garrett was given credit on his sentence for 174 days already served. He could be released in about seven years.

Sullivan said Garrett had prior convictions for aggravated unlawful use of weapons, possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanor battery.

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