Rockford's Independent Newspaper

Man sentenced to 51 years for 2015 homicide

ROCKFORD — Deontay L. Gunnell was sentenced to a total of 51 years in prison Friday for his role in a 2015 homicide.

Gunnell, 23, is one of three men prosecutors say are responsible for killing 25-year-old Racheal Garrett on Dec. 4, 2015 while she was inside her Fairgounds Valley apartment at 814 Tanner Court. Garrett was hit by a stray bullet fired at a group of people from outside the building. She died from a gunshot wound to the chest.

Judge John Lowry sentenced Gunnell to 46 years for first-degree murder, five years for aggravated discharge of a firearm and three years for mob action. Those sentences will run consecutively.

The mob action sentence will run concurrent with the five-year term. Gunnell must serve 85 percent of his sentences. He was found guilty on Nov. 19 after a bench trial.

The other two suspects, twins Lonnie and Donnie Williams, were also charged with first-degree murder. They are awaiting trial inside the Winnebago County Jail.

Racheal Garrett was a mother of four.

“She was being a mom in her own home, where she has a right to be safe and secure,” Lowry said.

Gunnell is due back in court Feb. 26. R.

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