Man wanted in U of I shooting surrenders to police

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Robbie Patton is named in an arrest warrant for a fatal shooting Sunday in Champaign. | AP

A Champaign teenager was charged with murder Friday in a shooting last weekend at a party near the University of Illinois campus that killed one person and wounded three others.

Robbie Patton, 18, surprised police by turning himself in late Thursday. A warrant had been issued for his arrest in the Sunday shooting that killed 22-year-old George Korchev.

Patton appeared in Champaign County Circuit Court by video link form the county jail Friday. Dressed in jail-issued clothing, he spoke only to answer “yes sir” several questions from Judge Brett Olmsted about whether he understood the charges.

Patton has not yet entered a plea to charges of first-degree murder and aggravated battery. He was assigned a public defender Friday afternoon who had not yet met with him.

Patton was sentenced in April to eight months in prison after pleading guilty to shooting at an occupied vehicle outside a Champaign restaurant, but he was instead sent to an Illinois Department of Corrections boot camp over prosecutors’ objections. He was paroled from boot camp earlier this month.

Late Thursday night, Patton walked into the lobby of the county jail in Urbana with two other people, at least one of whom may have been a relative, police said.

“My understanding is he came in with his hands raised in the air when he walked into the lobby,” Lt. Dave Shaffer said.

Korchev, who was from Mundelein in the Chicago suburbs and was a recent nursing school graduate, died after being shot outside the party Sunday on Green Street, an area near campus known for bars and restaurants. Three other people were wounded. None of them was at the party or involved in the fight, police have said.

Trouble at the party started when one woman spilled a drink on another, leading to arguments and a fight, including the beating of a man who police believe is a friend of Patton’s, Shaffer said.

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