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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 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 , 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 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 accused of arranging a meeting with a teen from Downers Grove and then fondling the girl has pleaded not guilty to the multiple charges against him. , 45, denied charges of 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. He is accused of photographing and touching the girl inappropriately, according to indictments. 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 , 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, 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.

Bill Angel September 01, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Mr. Payton gets 6 years for a robbery of shoes? Seems like a bit much! Wall Street tycoons robbed American's of BILLIONS! Not a single case brought to justice. Not saying Mr. Payton was right in what he admitted to, But where is the equal justice and equal penalty under the law? A pair of shoes???? 6 years?
Rachel Gregersen September 01, 2012 at 07:09 PM
What a shame and wrong turn in life due to poor judgement.
Ralph September 04, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Good to see this punk off the streets before his indiscretions leaves someone with a closed casket viewing.
Dave September 04, 2012 at 05:10 PM
If a driver thinks he has sufficient time to make it through a yellow light, but miscalculates and ends up blowing a red light, that is "poor judgment." This criminal did not make a mistake in judgment; he committed a premeditated act of armed robbery against an innocent victim. The people who gave the "outpouring of support" must have rocks in their heads.
Karen Chadra (Editor) September 15, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Comment by anonymous deleted for violating our terms of use. No profanity, please.

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