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By MARY SCHENK
For Rantoul Press
URBANA — A Rantoul man who admitted breaking into an elderly woman’s home in Rantoul in 2011 has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Michael Wilkins, 20, whose last known address was in the 100 block of South Marshall Street, pleaded guilty in late November before Judge Harry Clem to residential burglary, admitting that on June 10, 2011, he entered the home of a 93-year-old woman on Illinois Drive.
Other charges of home invasion and aggravated battery were dismissed in return for Wilkins’ plea.
At the time of Wilkins’ arrest in March 2012, Rantoul police Sgt. Marcus Beach said the woman heard her doorbell about 12:30 a.m. on June 10 and ignored it because of the late hour. She went to bed and was awakened by someone in her room, who punched her in the face and wrapped a pair of her pants around her head.
Police later discovered that cash and a flat-screen television had been stolen from the woman’s home. Other items found by police were sent to the state crime lab and DNA on them was linked to co-defendant Jose Morrison, 21, of Rantoul, whose case is unresolved. He implicated Wilkins in the crime, Beach said.
At Wilkins’ sentencing by Clem on Wednesday, the victim’s niece testified that her aunt has lived in fear since the attack.
Assistant State’s Attorney Scott Larson showed the judge a picture of her black eye to aggravate Wilkins’ sentence. Larson asked for the maximum sentence of 15 years while Wilkins’ attorney, Assistant Public Defender Scott Schmidt, sought a sentence of boot camp. Wilkins is eligible for day-for-day good time and has already served about nine months in jail.
Wilkins apologized to the victim.
In addition to the dismissal of the home invasion and aggravated battery charges, another case charging Wilkins with aggravated battery was dismissed. In that case,
Wilkins was accused of attacking a 53-year-old Mahomet man visiting Wilkins’ grandmother’s home on Oct. 13, 2011.
At the time of Wilkins’ arrest, he was on probation for a burglary, Larson said.