Guilty pleas in two gun cases send man to prison for 14 years

By Chicago 3 Min Read

URBANA — An Urbana man who admitted having a machine gun and a pistol on two different dates about a year ago has been sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Tarell Pettis, 25, who had no known permanent address when he was arrested, pleaded guilty Monday before Judge Randy Rosenbaum to two counts of unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon for a sentence of seven years in prison on each, to be served consecutively. He faced a maximum of 44 years for both.

Pettis admitted that on Oct. 4, 2022, he had a Glock pistol that had been fitted with a switch to make it fire like a machine gun, and that on Nov. 8, 2022, he had a Glock semi-automatic pistol.

Having been convicted in 2017 of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, Pettis is not supposed to have a gun.

Assistant State’s Attorney Dan Reynolds said in the October arrest, officers from the Street Crimes Task Force were trying to talk to him about an ongoing investigation but he fled from them in a vehicle, stopping outside a home in the 1300 block of Paula Drive, Champaign, and running inside.

He later told police he was scared by being followed by an unmarked vehicle.

In a search of the house, police found the loaded Glock with the switch, a high-capacity drum magazine, and two other AR-style rifles.

In the November arrest, an Urbana police officer was following Pettis because the officer saw Pettis allegedly selling drugs.

As he was being followed, Pettis sped away from the detective and pulled into a garage in the 900 block of South Lierman Avenue. He initially refused to come out but was eventually arrested.

The detective got a search warrant for the Cadillac that Pettis had been driving and found the loaded Glock gun and a high-capacity magazine. Also in the vehicle were about 21 grams of heroin and 13 grams of crack cocaine.

In exchange for his guilty pleas, other charges of armed violence and possession with intent to deliver heroin and cocaine were dismissed in those two cases. Two other cases alleging he possessed cocaine for sale and that he obstructed justice were also dismissed.

Rosenbaum gave Pettis credit for 439 days already served.

Reynolds said Pettis had a previous conviction for attempted aggravated robbery as a juvenile and adult convictions for possession of cannabis and misdemeanor theft.

Rosenbaum agreed to recommend Pettis for drug treatment in prison. Pettis also agreed to forfeit all the weapons and ammunition police found in his cases to authorities.

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