URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — A former student at Centennial High School will get to prove he can turn his life around after a conviction for displaying what police believed to be a gun at the school in September.
Calling the case “sad all around,” Judge Randy Rosenbaum Tuesday sentenced 18-year-old Pereze Collier to 30 months probation and 180 days in jail. However, Judge Rosenbaum held the jail term in remission, meaning Collier can avoid going to jail if he stays out of trouble. Collier earlier pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.
At sentencing Tuesday, Judge Rosenbaum summarized evidence put forth by prosecutors about the September 8 incident. The judge said Collier and at least one other student were arguing in the area of a school office. Collier allegedly said, “If you put hands on me, see what happens.” Another student replied, “What, you got a gun?” The judge said Collier then got into a backpack and showed the handle of a weapon. Collier then ran from the school with other male students chasing him. Police never found the weapon.
Collier claimed the object was mace, although that didn’t do much to sway the judge. “You shouldn’t be bringing mace to school,” said Judge Rosenbaum.
Assistant state’s attorney Tim Sullivan on Tuesday asked the judge to impose a 1.5 year prison sentence but said he was not opposed to Collier going through the state’s impact incarceration program, commonly known as “boot camp.” There, offenders go through a military-style reform program and usually get out before their sentence is up.
Sullivan called Collier’s crime “serious” especially “in light of the community we are in that’s plagued by gun violence.”
Collier’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Andrea Bergstrom, argued for probation, saying the matter was “not an example of a gun crime” akin to the recent community violence. “Give Pereze an opportunity to be successful,” Bergstrom asked the judge.
Collier, himself, gave a brief statement to Judge Rosenbaum Tuesday. He said he’s enrolled at Urbana Adult Education. Collier also claimed illness as the reason he did not respond to calls from the county’s probation office on his case.
At the time of the September 8 incident at Centennial, Collier was on probation for aggravated robbery in juvenile court.