29½-year sentence for Aurora man who shot three KFC employees

Updated 8/10/2018 6:15 PM
  • Claude M. Jackson

    Claude M. Jackson

An Aurora man was sentenced to 29½ years in prison this week after pleading guilty to shooting three employees during the armed robbery of a KFC in September 2014.

Claude R. Jackson, 49, was set for a late-August jury trial, where two co-defendants were expected to testify against him.

Instead, Jackson, who faced a maximum extended prison term of 75 years if convicted of attempted murder, pleaded guilty Thursday to three counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, each a felony punishable by a top term of 30 years.

Kane County Judge Clint Hull accepted the plea in which prosecutors dismissed other charges, such as armed violence and attempted murder.

According to prosecutors, Jackson, who was armed with a Kel-tec 2000 rifle, and two other men entered the KFC at 1350 E. New York St. shortly before 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 24, 2014.

As the KFC manager hid, Jackson pointed the rifle at three male employees, who were the only other people in the restaurant, and demanded money from the cash register, prosecutors said.

When none of the employees was able to open the register, an angry Jackson shot the each of them -- one in the arm and side, one in the leg and one in the stomach -- prosecutors said.

The men drove off in a white Cadillac Escalade and were arrested that night by Aurora police.

Under state law, Jackson must serve 85 percent, or just over 25 years, of his sentence. Jackson receives credit for nearly 47 months served at the Kane County jail while his case was pending.

The two other men -- Chase N. West, 23, and Joshua O. Scott, 30, both of Aurora -- each pleaded guilty in mid-July to three counts of attempted murder and three counts of attempted armed robbery, records show.

Each guilty plea was accompanied by a sealed court document spelling out the terms of testifying at Jackson's trial and the corresponding prison term. The documents likely will be unsealed at the next court dates, Aug. 27 for Scott and Aug. 28 for West.

Both of the men are being held at the Kane County jail without bond.

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