Man accused of shooting roommate at Western Illinois University pleads guilty

Published: Jun. 1, 2021 at 11:36 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 1, 2021 at 6:49 PM CDT
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MACOMB, Ill. (KWQC) - A 19-year-old charged with shooting his roommate in a Western Illinois University dorm room in September pleaded guilty Tuesday in McDonough County Circuit Court.

During a 15-minute plea hearing, Kavion K. Poplous pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree murder, a Class X felony punishable by six to 30 years in prison. He must serve 85% of whatever sentence is imposed before he is eligible for parole.

He will be sentenced on Sept. 3.

McDonough County State’s Attorney Matthew Kwacala told TV6 after the hearing that prosecutors plan to ask for a sentence at the higher end of the range.

“But for the grace of God, Mr. (Amarion) Hargrove is alive,” he said. “He had five bullets go through his body, broke his femur, he had several surgeries. This was this close to being a murder case instead of an attempted murder case, so we take it very seriously.”

McDonough County Assistant State’s Attorney Scott Terry said during Tuesday’s hearing that the university’s Office of Public Safety and other agencies responded to Thompson Hall for a fire alarm on the 12th floor around 10:34 p.m. Sept. 15.

According to Terry, officers found Hargrove, a freshman, lying on the floor of another student’s dorm room suffering from four gunshot wounds to the abdomen and one to the leg.

The student who lived in the dorm room said Poplous pulled out a gun from a backpack and fired several times at Hargrove.

Hargrove also identified Poplous as the shooter, according to Terry.

Officers searched an area near Thompson Hall where Poplous was seen shortly after the shooting and found a gun. According to Terry, a lab analysis of the gun linked it to the shooting and Poplous.

Kwacala said a 25- year gun enhancement could have been applied if Poplous was convicted at trial.

“He wanted to take some responsibility for his actions, and we agreed to get rid of the gun enhancement,” he said.

Kwacala said Hargrove is recovering from the shooting.

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