Elmhurst College Football Standout Gets Six Years for Christmas Eve Holdup
Rodney Payton pleaded guilty to robbing an Elmhurst man of his Air Jordans.
Rodney Payton, a former Nazareth Academy and Elmhurst College football player, was sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty Aug. 24 to an armed robbery charge, court records show.
Police arrested Payton, of Bellwood, in December for his role in a Christmas Eve hold up of a man for his new Air Jordan shoes as part of a ruse set up on Craigslist. He was 22 at the time of the crime. No one else has been charged in the case.
Prosecutors slightly amended the charge Payton admitted to by removing the word firearm and replacing it with "bludgeon," records state.
Payton's sentence came amid an outpouring of support from family and others, including the Nazareth Academy president and Payton's college football coach, who asked in nearly two dozen letters for Payton's strong family background and character to be considered as part of the deal.
According to an article exactly one year ago on Elmhurst Patch, as an Elmhurst College wide receiver Payton led the Bluejays, with 46 catches, 649 yards and six touchdowns the previous year, in 2010, when he was a sophomore at the school.
Here is a look at some of the other cases we have been following in DuPage County:
Darien—Georgina Burr pleaded guilty Aug. 27 to heroin possession in connection to a Christmas Eve arrest at a Darien gas station. Burr was sentenced to 82 days in DuPage County Jail. She received 41 days credit for time served and was placed on two years probation centered on drug treatment. She must complete evaluations and counseling as part of her deal with prosecutors, according to court records. Police arrested Burr and her husband, Andrew Burr, both of Walnut, Ill., after a witness reported the couple left their children in a running car. Both entered the women's bathroom where they shot heroin, authorities have said. Georgina Burr also pleaded to a misdemeanor count of child endangerment. Andrew Burr pleaded guilty in July and was sentenced to nearly a year of work release from the jail.
Downers Grove—A Texas man has pleaded not guilty to charges he convinced a teen from Downers Grove to take lewd photos and perform certain sex acts in a case where the pair never met in person. Rudolph Figueroa, 45, remains in DuPage County Jail on $250,000 bail charged with child pornography, sex abuse, sex assault, solicitation of a child and grooming in connection to incidents between March and June of this year, records show. Authorities have said Figueroa sent texts and spoke with the girl several times. Prosecutors said Figueroa can be charged with sex abuse and sex assault because the teen performed certain acts at his request even though they were in different locations. He returns to court Sept. 19.
Wheaton—A judge recently denied the request by Gordon Vanderark to suppress his statements to authorities investigating threats he reportedly made against an assistant state's attorney and another judge. Vanderark had claimed prosecutors violated his rights and improperly questioned him about claims he tried to hire someone to kill the prosecutor and judge, who handled an aggravated drunken driving case that landed Vanderark in prison. Vanderark, last of Wheaton, returns to court Sept. 14.
Woodridge—A 30-year-old woman from Rosemont was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to setting a fire earlier this year at a Woodridge apartment complex. In a deal with prosecutors, who dropped an aggravated arson count, Maria Bustamante received credit for six months she served in DuPage County Jail and was ordered to pay $535 in court costs. No injuries were reported as a result of the Feburary fire at Windsor Lakes apartments. Authorities said the fire was started in a hallway and caused about $25,000 in damage.