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updated: 7/18/2012 4:48 PM

55-year sentence for man in Carpentersville murder

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  • Errick Brown

    Errick Brown


A Carpentersville man likely will spend the rest of his life in prison after gunning down a man over a $100 dispute over profits from a cocaine deal.

Kane County Judge Timothy Sheldon on Wednesday sentenced Errick Brown to 55 years in prison after he was found guilty of first-degree murder of Joseph Vonner, 25, in October 2009.

Brown, 41, must serve 100 percent of the sentence.

Sheldon found Brown guilty of murder after a bench trial earlier this year.

Kane County Assistant State's Attorney Alice Tracy asked the judge to sentence Brown to more than the minimum 45 years.

She said Vonner's family still celebrates his birthday, some of his five kids say they "want go to up to heaven" to see him and that Vonner was shot twice from behind, with one bullet hitting him the back of the head and exiting through his eye.

"The defendant got angrier and angrier over the course of the evening," Tracy said. "This was a completely senseless act of violence."

Prosecutors argued that on Oct. 9, 2009, Brown asked Vonner, who also was his roommate, if he could score an ounce of cocaine to sell to another person. Vonner got the drugs and they were later sold to the third party for $1,000, with Brown and Vonner each taking home a $100 profit in the sale.

Prosecutors said the buyer was unhappy with the quality of the cocaine and wanted a refund. Brown gave back his $100, but Vonner refused.

Later that night, at birthday party for Brown at his home in the 100 block of Armarillo Drive, Brown got a .45-caliber gun from his garage, told a witness he planned to shoot Vonner and then gunned him down at about 12:30 a.m. Oct. 10, prosecutors said.

Brown, his teenage son, his wife and others fled to Chicago but he later surrendered after a warrant was issued for his arrest in January 2010. Three people witnessed the murder, prosecutors said.

In delivering the sentence, Sheldon noted the impact Vonner's death had on his family and Brown's previous convictions for cocaine possession, driving under the influence of alcohol, driving while license suspended and weapons possession.

"Their lives will be affected forever," Sheldon said of Vonner's kids. "(Brown) has a history of alcohol, drugs and guns. And alcohol, drugs and guns are what brought us here today."

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