URBANA — A Rantoul man who admitted he robbed an employee of a gambling café was sentenced Wednesday to nine years in prison.
Judge Randy Rosenbaum had this to say to Deshawn Burries-Brumfield, who told a probation officer that his anger is “triggered” when things don’t go his way.
“Life is never going to go your way all the time,” the judge said, citing examples as mundane as being cut off in traffic. “If that’s your trigger, you need to get the help you need for your substance-abuse issues.”
Burries-Brumfield, 22, pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery for putting an object to the head of a woman working at Lacy’s Place, 1710 W. Bradley Ave., C, on March 6, 2020, then stealing cash from the register.
When a fingerprint linked him to the holdup in September, Burries-Brumfield claimed that he had not used a real gun. A more serious charge of armed robbery was dismissed in return for his plea. He is eligible for day-for-day good time.
To aggravate his sentence, Assistant State’s Attorney Kristin Alferink played for Rosenbaum about a minute’s worth of surveillance video that showed the holdup.
Alferink also had officers testify about investigating reports that Burries-Brumfield was involved in stealing from four businesses during citywide looting May 31, beating the mother of two of his children, and stealing cash from a co-worker at a fast-food business — crimes for which charges were either dismissed or never filed as part of his negotiated plea agreement.
Champaign, Urbana and University of Illinois police officers testified that during the citywide looting in the wake of the death of George Floyd’s at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, Burries-Brumfield was identified as being involved in two break-ins at the Shell station at 1406 N. Prospect Ave., C, where doors were smashed and tobacco products and liquor were stolen; a third at Pawn King, 1004 W. University Ave., U, where he broke windows with a hammer and passed video games and power tools out to others; and a fourth at Flora Gems, 302 W. Kirby Ave., C, where windows and display cases were broken but no merchandise was taken.
A Champaign police officer also testified that on June 18, Burries-Brumfield was caught on video stealing $400 from a co-worker’s purse at McDonald’s, 906 Bloomington Road, C.
A Rantoul police officer said Burries-Brumfield was also involved in an attack on the same woman, the mother of his two children, on Jan. 20 and 21, 2020, in Rantoul.
In mitigation, Assistant Public Defender Matt Ham gave Rosenbaum medical records from the Pavilion about Burries- Brumfield’s treatment for mental issues and had his mother testify that he could live with her in Decatur.
Alferink asked for a 12-year sentence, noting that as a juvenile, Burries-Brumfield was adjudicated delinquent for aggravated domestic battery and had adult convictions for misdemeanor and felony theft. In each of his cases, she said he failed to comply with probation and did nothing to address mental-health or substance-abuse issues that were underlying his criminal behavior.
Ham argued that Burries- Brumfield is young, has severe untreated mental-health issues and that most of his crimes have been property-related. He said his client wants to go to college and get into the construction trade.
Burries-Brumfield told the judge he took responsibility for his “antisocial actions” and recognizes that he was on a “destructive path.”
“I cannot undo what is done,” he said, asking for leniency but saying he would take what the judge gave him.
Rosenbaum said he was impressed by Burries-Brumfield’s acceptance of responsibility for his crimes but noted that he does not pay child support and has done little to get help for his mental-health and substance-abuse issues.
The judge agreed to recommend Burries-Brumfield for treatment for those problems while he is locked up. He was given credit on his sentence for 171 days served.