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Charles Gardner pleads guilty to 2018 fatal stabbing, sentenced to 28 years in prison
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Charles Gardner pleads guilty to 2018 fatal stabbing, sentenced to 28 years in prison


DECATUR — Emotions ran high in an upper Macon County courtroom Friday morning where Charles E. Gardner pleaded guilty to the murder of Cody Drew. 

Gardner, 49, was charged with stabbing the 24-year-old to death on Aug. 9, 2018, along South Oakland Avenue after Drew allegedly refused demands to share his $150 video poker jackpot.

The guilty plea to first-degree murder resulted in Gardner being sentenced to 28 years in prison and several additional charges being dropped. The charge carried a possible sentence of 20 to 60 years in prison.

Charles E. Gardner

Charles Gardner, 49, pled guilty to the 2018 murder of 20-year-old Cody Drew Friday morning and was sentenced to 28 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

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Hearing the confession were the victim's family members who were present Friday morning. Drew's parents concluded the hearing by sharing victim impact statements directed at Gardner.

The victim's mother, Rhonda Dillow, read aloud notes and poems of encouragement sent by those in the community who were impacted by her son, most recollecting fond memories of the 24-year-old.

Drew's father, Tim Drew, told Gardner "I forgive you," sharing a hope that he will find peace in his actions. Community support following Drew's death reflected familial values of faith as the parents mentioned several times the lasting impact their son had on those around him. Vigils honoring the man were held in the wake of his death in 2018.

2020 mug shots from the Herald & Review

Contact Garrett Karsten at (217) 421-6949. Follow him on Twitter: @GarrettKarsten


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