Man in fatal shooting while collecting drug debt sentenced

Cornelius Freeman – Photo Champaign County Sheriff’s Office

URBANA, Ill. (AP) — A central Illinois man who expressed remorse for killing a man while trying to collect a drug debt has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Cornelius Freeman was convicted of second-degree murder for the March 2018 fatal shooting of 26-year-old Michael White of Chicago. The 40-year-old Freeman said he thought White was about to shoot him, prompting him to fire as White reached into his car. Freeman was captured later in Kentucky.
The News-Gazette reports none of White’s family attended Thursday’s sentencing, nor did anyone submit a victim impact statement to Champaign County Circuit Judge Tom Difanis.
Assistant State’s Attorney Kristin Alferink argued Freeman deserved at least 27 years in prison. She noted Freeman spent the majority of his adult life in prison on home invasion and weapons charges.
Assistant Public Defender Ben Dyer presented Difanis with a video taken March 1 at the county jail showing Freeman interrupting a younger inmate’s suicide attempt by hanging.