A Champaign man who pleaded guilty to killing a University of Illinois student during a drug-related robbery was sentenced Wednesday to 55 years in prison.
Reginald Scott, 21, was charged with first-degree murder in the January 2015 shooting death of Vicente Mundo of Chicago.
Scott showed little reaction as Judge Tom Difanis imposed the sentence, which was five years fewer than that sought by the state.
The News-Gazette in Champaign reports Difanis called the case "an absolute tragedy for both families."
"Mr. Scott wasn't raised to be a cold-blooded murderer. Mr. Mundo's family didn't send Vicente down here to get murdered. These are two young men basically gone forever," said Difanis.
Assistant Public Defender George Vargas had Scott's mother testify during the hearing in an effort to reduce the severity of the sentence.
Wilma Bridget-Scott said she and Scott's father were married more than 25 years and were an "average family" living in a suburb of Washington, D.C. She said her son suffered a head injury in a skating accident. After that, he experienced difficulty with academics, engaged in impulsive behavior and had short-term memory loss.
When Scott's father took a position at the University of Illinois, the defendant came to Champaign in hopes of getting a new start. Instead, he continued to abuse alcohol and cannabis.
"The individual that was on the drugs and involved in this horrible situation is not the child we raised," Bridget-Scott said.
In arguing for a 60-year sentence, Assistant State's Attorney Matt Banach called the armed robbery of Mundo by Scott and Gonzalez "planned and premeditated."
"This despicable act was not committed out of rage, or hate, or fear, nor any other strong provocation on the part of the defendants — just their cold, inexcusable, despicable greed," he said.
Mundo, 20, a junior majoring in statistics, was last seen Jan. 25 as he left a friend's apartment after receiving a call. Authorities say Mundo was shot in the head while trying to escape from the auto of Scott's accomplice Daniel Gonzalez, 21.
Police say the suspects took Mundo's body to an area northwest of Tolono and left the body near a tree line. A woman walking her dog on a country road days later found Mundo's body. By then, investigators had examined Mundo's cellphone, which they said established a link to Gonzalez, who had made arrangements to purchase cannabis from Mondo.
Gonzalez also faces a first-degree murder charge in Mundo's death. He has pleaded not guilty.