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updated: 8/13/2011 6:56 PM

Judge refuses to shorten sentence in choking death

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Associated Press

BLOOMINGTON -- A central Illinois judge has refused to reconsider the 8 1/2-year prison sentence given to a man convicted of choking his roommate to death during a party.

Xavier Cordova, 25, is originally from Chicago and was living in Champaign with Mitchell Robinson, 26, in September 2009 when the two went to a party in Normal.

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Prosecutors claim Cordova put Robinson in a choke hold during the party, and police say Cordova admitted grabbing his roommate "to tire him out" but didn't mean to kill him.

Cordova was convicted in February of involuntary manslaughter. He's being held at the Danville Correctional Center.

McLean County Judge James Souk told Cordova on Friday that he doesn't believe he's accepted responsibility for the grief he's caused the friends and families affected by the case.

"Xavier Cordova is 100 percent responsible for all that sadness," Souk said.

He also denied Cordova's request to be freed pending an appeal.

The (Bloomington) Pantagraph reports ( ) that Cordova's attorney sought a shorter sentence because Cordova is diabetic, and he says he isn't receiving proper medical care in prison.

Cordova's mother, Maria Cordova, issued a statement Friday accusing the judge of "making a mockery of the American justice system."

Maria Cordova says police and prosecutors ignored evidence that her son was innocent and physically incapable of overpowering Robinson.

Xavier Cordova is eligible for parole in September 2015.

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