DJ FILE - Courts

KANKAKEE — A reputed gang member agreed to plead guilty to a drive-by shooting in which two people were shot in August 2017.

Before his attempted murder trial was set to begin Monday, Hernan Carmona accepted a deal to plead guilty to aggravated battery with a firearm and aggravated battery in a public place.

Prosecutors dismissed the attempted murder charge as well as aggravated discharge of a firearm and unlawful possession of a firearm by a street gang member.

Under terms of the deal, Carmona was sentenced to eight years on the two charges with credit for time served.

After his release from prison, Carmona will be on parole for three years and have to register as a youth violent offender for 10 years.

Although he is 17, Carmona was charged as an adult.

In the state of Illinois, there are three offenses prosecutors can choose to automatically transfer from juvenile to adult court involving 16- and 17-year-olds: first-degree murder, aggravated criminal sexual assault and aggravated battery with a firearm.

Carmona will start his prison sentence in one of the state’s Juvenile Justice facilities. He will transfer to an Illinois Department of Corrections facility when he turns 18, which is next July.

“This plea removes Hernan from our community for over five years, which is a good outcome considering he is a juvenile,” Kankakee County State’s Attorney Jim Rowe said.

“Had we not transferred the case to adult criminal court, he would have been out within a matter of 18 months at most. This sentence shows we will charge juveniles as adults when the crime justifies it, and seek to sentence them as an adult when able.

“It is worth noting that in most gang related cases, witness cooperation is difficult to procure. We have to take that into consideration.”

Rowe said the sentence is consistent with the one given to one of Carmona’s two co-defendants, Lupe Torres, who was 18 at the time of the Aug. 27, 2017, shooting.

In March 2018, Torres agreed to plead guilty to the same two charges. He received nine years.

The third defendant, Marquise Sabbs, is awaiting trial. He was 18 at the time of the shooting.

The three men are accused of opening fire on a house in 300 block of North Rosewood on Aug. 27, 2017.

According to Assistant State’s Attorney Daniel Reedy, the shooting occurred following an earlier incident in 200 block of North Rosewood.

One of the shooting victims was struck in the wrist and buttocks. The other victim was hit in the leg. The injuries were non life-threatening.

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