- Associated Press - Monday, November 23, 2015

URBANA, Ill. (AP) - A man who spent more than two years in jail on gun charges in Champaign County has been released after a judge says that the state didn’t bring him to trial within an appropriate timeframe.

Champaign County Judge Heidi Ladd dismissed armed habitual criminal charges against 43-year-old Kevin Pettis, The (Champaign) News-Gazette (https://bit.ly/1YpE7au ) reports.

Pettis was accused of firing a gun into the air during an incident in July 2013 in Champaign, and he was charged with being an armed habitual criminal, aggravated unlawful use of weapons by a felon and reckless discharge of a firearm. He was in jail for about 28 months, and was released Nov. 16.

“After 864 days, I hope he’s enjoying regular food and a regular bed,” public defender Janie Miller-Jones said.

A judge filling in for Ladd earlier this month had granted a motion from the prosecution for a continuance because an eyewitness’s health problems. Ladd called the case for trial Nov. 16, but public defender Miller-Jones asked the case be dismissed.

Ladd granted the defense’s request, saying the prosecution sought the continuance under the wrong statute.

State’s Attorney Julia Rietz said she plans to ask an appeals court to review Ladd’s ruling.

Ladd had earlier granted a request from Pettis’ attorney to have the search of his home ruled invalid. The prosecution appealed that ruling in March 2014, and the appeals court reversed it in July 2015 and sent the case back for trial.

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Information from: The News-Gazette, https://www.news-gazette.com


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