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Former county jail officer arraigned on two felonies

DECATUR – Penny Adams, 58, a former Macon County correctional officer, is facing up to 30 years in prison after she was arraigned Tuesday on two felony counts for allegedly giving a cellphone to a jail inmate.

Adams, a 25-year jail employee, was arrested May 16, after investigators discovered that she had been involved in a personal relationship with Willie B. Franklin Jr., 38, of Urbana, who was in federal custody on bank robbery charges. Adams resigned from her jail position the day she was arrested.

She is charged with unauthorized delivery of contraband in a penal institution by an employee, a Class X felony punishable by 10 to 30 years in prison.

Delivery of a cellphone has a longer minimum sentence than most other Class X felonies, including one involving delivery of narcotics to an inmate, because of the possible consequences of using a phone clandestinely by an inmate, said First Assistant Macon County State's Attorney Nichole Kroncke. Most Class X felonies carry a minimum penalty of six years.

Adams is also charged with official misconduct, a Class 3 felony punishable by two to five years in prison.

Franklin was being held in the federal custody section of the Macon County Jail, pending his trial. After pleading guilty to five bank robberies, Franklin was sentenced May 27 to 10 years, five months in federal prison. In court documents, federal prosecutors alleged that Adams worked with Franklin to try to hide about $110, 000 of his inheritance to prevent it from being taken for restitution.

Adams, who is free after posting 10 percent of $20,000 bond, is due in circuit court for a pretrial hearing Sept. 8.

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