Urbana man charged with murder in connection with Campustown shooting


Photo courtesy of Cameron Krasucki

View of East Green Street as police pursue the shooting that took place on Friday. Matthew Denbo who is in custody for the shooting and death of Joshua Berg requests a trial by jury while pleading not guilty towards four counts of first degree murder set against him.

By Willie Cui, News Editor

A 42-year-old Urbana man was charged with first degree murder in connection with a homicide that occurred on the 200 block of East Green Street in Champaign on Friday night.

According to the charging documents, Matthew Denbo, a 42-year-old resident of Urbana, allegedly shot Joshua Berg, the 46-year-old victim, in the head with a .45 caliber handgun leading to Berg’s death. 

Appearing virtually before Champaign County Judge Brett Olmstead from the county jail, Denbo was arraigned on four counts of first degree murder in connection with the shooting death. He pleaded not guilty to the charges and requested a trial by jury.

The reason Denbo faces four charges is because there are multiple ways to charge someone for first degree murder, Judge Olmstead said at the arraignment. Denbo faces a potential sentence of 45 years to life imprisonment if convicted.

At around 9:06 p.m. on Friday, officers responded to a report of a shooting with an injury outside of 205 E. Green St. and found the victim on the front lawn with a life-threatening gunshot wound. 

According to the Champaign Police Department, an initial investigation indicated that Berg was walking eastward on Green Street with Denbo when an argument occurred between them. 

“The argument rapidly escalated with Denbo firing a gun and mortally wounding the victim,” CPD said in a press release. “Following the shooting, Denbo left the area.”

Berg was transported to Carle Foundation Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead at 9:30 p.m.

As a result of the shooting, police closed off the 200 block of East Green Street and started canvassing the area for evidence and potential witnesses. 

At 9:11 p.m., the University Police Department sent out an Illini-Alert warning the campus community of shots fired on the 200 block of East Green Street.

Later in the night, officers managed to identify and locate Denbo at his Urbana residence at around 10:30 p.m., where he was arrested.

While an arrest has been made, the investigation remains ongoing, according to CPD.

“Residents and businesses with exterior surveillance camera systems are encouraged to notify the police department,” CPD said in the press release.


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