Teen sentenced in Champaign robbery where children were tied up

Tristan Jaden Marks, 18 Tristan Jaden Marks, 18

URBANA, Ill. (WAND) - A Chicago teenager has been sentenced to six years in prison for an aggravated robbery last year where children were tied up and held at gunpoint.

19-year-old Tristan Marks pleaded guilty in February to the July 10, 2017 crime.

The judge agreed to recommend Marks for the Department of Corrections boot-camp program for around 120 days.

The judge said the behavior was uncharacteristic of Marks.

He was tied to the robbery in the 1700 block of Paula Dr. Two masked men came into the home with a gun. One put the gun to the head of a woman, while the other person (believed to be Marks) put zip ties around her wrists and the wrists of seven children. The kids ranged in age from 8 to 16.

Another adult man in the home was tied to a piece of exercise equipment and pistol-whipped.

The children's mother testified in court the house was the home of her ex-husband, and the kids were there to visit him. She left to take the kids' grandmother home and came back to find her children tied up and the robbers still in the house.

The men ran. Marks was found hiding in the backyard.

Prosecutors said they had been looking for money, but did not find any.

Marks' mother testified in his defense. She is a veteran Chicago educator and single mom. She said she adopted Marks as an infant. She said he was doing well and did great in school until about 18 months ago. She said she found Marks' birth mother four years ago when he asked her to. The woman sent him a birthday card telling him she did not want a relationship with him.

Marks' adopted mother told the judge he was raised "in the church" with morals and values, and she did not know why he did this.

The prosecution argued for a heavier sentence, citing the the fact that Marks never revealed the name of the other robber to police.

Marks told the judge he knew what he did was wrong and apologized.

He was given credit for 246 days served towards his sentence.

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