A Lombard teen who was expelled for taking a 30-inch "club-like object" to Glenbard South High School has avoided a felony conviction.
Steven Allen, 17, pleaded guilty Monday to a reduced charge of misdemeanor unlawful use of a weapon. He was sentenced to a year of conditional discharge, 100 hours of community service and a tour of the DuPage County jail, according to an agreement with prosecutors.
Defense attorney Tim Martin said Allen, a history buff, took the homemade item to the Glen Ellyn school in September to trade to another student for a coonskin "Daniel Boone hat." Martin described the object as a "feathered replication of a year 1700 weapon made of wood" and embedded with nails for hanging.
"It took him, like, a month to make," Martin said. "He had absolutely no intent to cause any harm or use it in any other fashion than to hang it on a wall as a piece of art."
Assistant State's Attorney Demetri Demopoulos said the item was a "club-like object with feathers and a Native American-type inscription."
Martin said the school "erred on the side of caution in today's environment" and expelled Allen during his senior year. He said his client has since obtained a GED and is enrolled to attend college in Montana in the fall.
Allen could have faced up to three years in prison if convicted of a more serious felony offense, which was dismissed in exchange for his plea.
"He's grateful to the state," Martin said. "He's lucky he has a new lease on life without a felony conviction."
Judge Kathryn Creswell, who accepted the plea agreement, said Allen could arrange a tour of the jail in the next month. Martin said the tour is part of a deterrence program for young defendants.