URBANA — A northern Illinois man who escaped from Champaign County Jail on a drug charge under a false name has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Christian Mathews, 33, also known as Robert Franklin III, formerly of Hanover Park, pleaded guilty last week before Judge Roger Webber to a single count of escape, admitting he left county jail on bail under the false name of Franklin on July 10, 2020.

He had been arrested and charged the previous day with alleged drug offenses after members of the Champaign County Street Crimes Task Force found crack cocaine intended for sale at an apartment on Vawter Street in Urbana. where Mathews and a woman, Christina Rood, were present.

Assistant State’s Attorney Chris McCallum dismissed those charges after pleading guilty to the escape charge. It wasn’t until he was released on bail as Franklin that FBI records revealed his true identity as Mathews. McCallum said Mathews has previous convictions for misdemeanor offenses including possession of altered or false identification, deceptive practices, credit card forgery and identity theft.

McCallum said after Mathews completes his escape sentence, he will be transferred to Wisconsin to serve another four years in a 2018 habitual criminal case. McCallum said charges against Rood, 42, remain unresolved as she has not appeared in court since early 2021.


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