A man accused of breaking into multiple homes pleaded guilty to four felony charges earlier this week.
On Monday, James D. Nichols Sr., 30, pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary, both third degree felonies, and one count each of grand theft when property is a firearm or dangerous ordnance with a firearm specification, a third degree felony, and aggravated trafficking in drugs, a fourth degree felony.
The firearm specification carries a mandatory one-year prison term and must be served consecutively to any other prison term.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 10.
The charges against Nichols stem from multiple residential burglaries investigated by the Urbana Police Division from last fall. Two of the burglaries involved the homes of elderly victims and all four occurred while no one was home.
The burglaries occurred on Sept. 25, 2016, Nov. 13, 2016, and Dec. 19 and 24, 2016.
Urbana Police Chief Matt Lingrell previously stated firearms, electronic devices, cash, coins and prescription medications were taken during these crimes. In some of the burglaries, forced entry was made while in others entry was made through unlocked entrances.
As part of the plea resolution, 12 other charges were dismissed against Nichols.
Woman pleads guilty to drug possession
A woman pleaded guilty to a drug possession charge Monday after recently having a warrant issued against her.
Jacqueline F. Altizer, 30, pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine, a fifth degree felony, during a hearing.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 7.
The guilty plea came less than a week after a capias warrant was issued against Altizer following a drug overdose. A journal entry issuing a warrant against Altizer on May 30 stated court staff received correspondence from the Tri-County Regional Jail stating she “overdosed on Xanax” and ran from a hospital.
A notification of bond violation allegations filed by the court on May 31 states Altizer violated bond by using Xanax, a non-prescribed medication, on May 27 and violated the terms of electronic monitoring and house arrest between May 27 and 29.
A motion to continue a bond merits hearing was filed Monday by Champaign County Assistant Prosecutor Gregory Harvey requesting that this hearing, which is scheduled for June 12, be continued.
The possession of cocaine charge stems from a March 21 incident where Altizer was found lying in the lobby of the Urbana Inn and Suites, 1490 E. U.S. Route 36, partially unclothed. Urbana Police learned that prior to their arrival a friend of hers found her lying in the bushes in front of the hotel undressed from the waist down.
Altizer was reportedly unconscious and struggling to breathe. She was treated by Urbana Fire Medics and transported to Mercy Memorial Hospital for further medical care.
Branson C. Wilkinson, 28, was indicted in April on one count of tampering with evidence, a third degree felony. A grand jury indictment contends Wilkinson allegedly took cocaine from Altizer and hit it in a hallway bathroom.
An arraignment hearing in hearing in his case was scheduled for April 18, but Wilkinson failed to appear leading to a capias warrant for his arrest being issued.
Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.
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