BLOOMINGTON — A Bloomington man was convicted Friday night of a September 2016 home invasion that left the homeowner injured after he was struck with a handgun.
Isaiah Miller, 20, was accused of breaking into a home on Oxford Court with two other men and holding a couple at gunpoint while the home was searched for $50,000 in cash the suspects believed to be there. Miller was charged with home invasion, armed robbery, residential burglary and aggravated battery.
The verdict came after a four-day jury trial and four hours of deliberations that stretched into Friday night.
In his closing arguments, Assistant State's Attorney John Shim said Miller, co-defendant Kendrick Cooley and a third man who has not been identified forced their way into the home while armed with a handgun owned by Miller.
The prosecutor said Miler almost got away with the crime.
"The defendant is smart, he's cold and he's calculating," said Shim.
Miller and Cooley came to the attention of Bloomington police about a month after the break-in after a confidential police source told Normal police the suspects' names in exchange for help with a shoplifting case that may have interfered with his entry into drug court.
Defense lawyer Michael Herzog asked jurors in his final remarks to judge Cooley's testimony carefully, noting that the state agreed to a 15-year sentence for Cooley if he followed through with a promise to testify truthfully at Miller's trial.
Herzog acknowledged that the home invasion was "a horrific incident" but added "Isaiah Miller was not in the home that evening."
The victims of the home invasion sat in the front row of the courtroom for closing statements. The male victim wiped tears after the state played a short home security video depicting the early moments of the break-in.
Video depicting the chaotic and traumatic moments endured by the Bloomington couple also was shown in the courtroom Thursday.
Cooley testified Thursday that Miller proposed the break-in after learning from another man that the victims kept $50,000 in their home.
The trio parked a block away from the home for about an hour and waited for two others to leave the residence before walking to the front door.
The video shown Thursday showed how the situation, which was calm as the homeowner plays with a small dog, turned to chaos as a woman answered the door. The man met Cooley and tried to stop the first suspect as he entered the living room.
The man was struck in the head with a gun brought by Miller after both victims were ordered to lie down on the kitchen floor.
After at least 30 minutes in the home, the three suspects left with a handgun, two cellphones, a small amount of marijuana, a small purse containing about $100 and another $5,000 in cash, according to Cooley.