A student at the University of Illinois who hung a noose in his dorm’s elevator last year has avoided a felony hate-crime charge by pleading guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct.
The felony hate-crime charge that 20-year-old Andrew Smith faced carried a minimum of one year and a maximum of three years in state prison and up to $25,000 in fines but prosecutors said he had “no history of racial prejudice” and offered him a plea deal.
“He wrote apology letters and appeared sincere,” State’s Attorney Julia Rietz said this week.
The student was sentenced Tuesday to one year of court supervision along with 50 hours of community service and a $75 fine.
The noose he hung was discovered inside an elevator by staff members at the university back in September.
Smith was identified and arrested following an investigation and the case drew outrage across the country.
During the investigation, Smith reportedly told authorities he didn’t really think about the noose as a racist symbol and did it because he heard the campus was haunted.