URBANA, Ill. -- A 19-year-old Champaign man has been convicted in the fatal shooting of a Mundelein man during a 2016 party near the University of Illinois campus.
A Champaign County jury found Robbie Patton guilty Thursday of first-degree murder in the killing of 22-year-old George Korchev. He also was convicted of three counts of aggravated battery with a firearm for wounding three others when he fired a gun into a crowd in a parking lot at 12:39 a.m. on Sept. 25, 2016, according to news reports.
Sentencing is Nov. 8. Patton faces up to 85 years in prison on the murder charge and up to 30 years on each of the remaining counts.
Korchev had gotten his nursing degree from the College of Lake County in December 2015, recently passed his nursing board exam and was about to start a job as a registered nurse at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville. He was in Champaign to visit friends.
Korchev, a 2012 graduate of Mundelein High School, "was always smiling and laughing and making sure everyone around him was as well," a friend, Justin Konieczny, said after the shooting.
He was born in Ukraine and his family moved to the United States when he was 7, his girlfriend's mother said.
Investigators pursued dozens of leads, including surveillance video, and conducted numerous interviews before concluding Patton was the shooter, Assistant State's Attorney Scott Larson said, according to The News-Gazette of Champaign.
Larson went through the testimony of several witnesses who said the shots were fired after Patton, dressed in all black, saw his friend Edwin McCraney unconscious on the ground from being beaten by a group of men, The News-Gazette reported. He reviewed for the jury the surveillance video that showed an animated Patton tossing his ball cap off and pulling the hood of his sweatshirt up around his face before walking into the crowd.
That video, Larson said, also showed Patton's girlfriend pulling on his arm, comporting with her testimony that she tried to calm him down. While the video did not show shots being fired, it did show the crowd running in the opposite direction from where witnesses said the shots were fired, both seconds before and after it's believed the shots were fired.
Police believe a revolver was used because they didn't find any shell casings in the parking lot, The News-Gazette reported. No gun was ever recovered.
A black Nike sweatshirt, believed to be worn by Patton in the surveillance video, was recovered on a patio of an apartment building north of the scene with gunshot residue on it, Larson said.
Assistant Public Defender Tony Allegretti said investigators ignored leads that could have implicated someone else, noting there were a hundred people in the parking lot. He argued the gunshot residue could have been transferred to the sweatshirt, if it were within four to five feet of where the gun was fired, The News-Gazette reported.
Police said the shooting followed a disagreement over a spilled drink at a party in Champaign that led to a fight. None of the four victims were involved in the fight.