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Crime & Courts

St. Charles man gets 6 years on drug charges

Justin J. Heneghan
Justin J. Heneghan

ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP – A 26-year-old St. Charles man was sentenced to six years in prison Thursday, months after pleading guilty to unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

It was the lightest sentence that Justin J. Heneghan could receive on the Class X felony. Judge Timothy Q. Sheldon cited a 17-page letter that Heneghan had written, explaining a difficult past, in which Heneghan's father was killed when he was just 8 years old. Sheldon also mentioned that he was encouraged that Heneghan had turned to religion.

Assistant State's Attorney Christina Wascher had argued for a 12-year sentence. Heneghan could have been sentenced to as much as 30 years in prison. Heneghan will be given credit for at least 882 days he has spent in jail.

The incident took place on May 27, 2010. Officers from the North Central Narcotics Task Force served a warrant at Heneghan's home. Heneghan leaped out of a second-story window and fled, but he was taken into custody. Officers found 191 pills of MDMA, also known as ecstasy, and 135.4 grams of marijuana. He also attempted to flee from a police vehicle on his way to the Kane County jail.

He also pleaded guilty to a count of aggravated battery to a police officer, a count of unlawful possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and a count of attempted escape. He was charged with five years each on those counts, but they will be served concurrently.

At his sentencing hearing Thursday, Heneghan's grandparents testified that he had made a change in his life, but that he needed treatment for a drug addiction.

Heneghan was represented by Michael Tatman, a Kane County assistant public defender. Tatman argued that Heneghan had taken responsibility for what he had done and "is here to accept that punishment." Tatman argued for the six-year sentence, saying it was appropriate.

"It is a very lengthy sentence," Tatman said. "It's not letting him walk."

Wascher acknowledged that Heneghan had an "absolutely horrific childhood," but she said that as an adult, Heneghan needed to accept more responsibility for his actions. She said it "has always been his choice to go back to criminal activity."

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