DECATUR — Christian L. Peoples of Decatur was sentenced to six years in prison Tuesday after pleading guilty to a charge of armed robbery.
The 19-year-old man had been ready to plead not guilty and stand trial on a charge of armed robbery involving the discharge of a firearm, but changed his plea in a deal negotiated by his attorney, Karen Root.
Macon County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Griffith agreed to take the word “firearm” out of the robbery charge, which is still a Class X felony. If firearm had remained part of the charge, Peoples would have faced an additional 20 years in prison upon conviction.
A sworn police affidavit said the robbery dated to just after midnight Oct. 12 when Peoples confronted a Decatur man as he walked in Johns Hill Park.
Pointing a handgun at the man, the affidavit said Peoples told him to “Run your pockets … this ain’t a game,” but the man fought back. The gun fired, but the bullet missed both men. The victim then pulled out a folding knife and stabbed Peoples, who fled, the affidavit said.
The affidavit said a mask Peoples was wearing came off during the struggle, and the victim saw his face. Decatur Park Police arrested Peoples after finding him walking nearby “suffering from a stab wound,” and the victim told them he had recognized his robber as someone he’d known for the past eight years, the affidavit said.