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Press Release

Indianapolis Woman Pleads Guilty to Illegally Purchasing Firearm Used to Shoot and Kill Champaign Police Officer

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of Illinois

PEORIA, Ill. – An Indianapolis woman, Ashantae S. Corruthers, 29, of the 5700 block of Port Hope Drive, pleaded guilty on June 22, 2023 to conspiracy to illegally purchase and transfer a firearm and conspiracy to engage in misleading conduct. Sentencing for Corruthers has been scheduled on November 6, 2023, at the U.S. Courthouse in Urbana, Illinois.

In court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan E. Hawley, Corruthers admitted that she conspired with co-defendant Regina Lewis and Darion M. Lafayette, now deceased, to purchase and transfer a firearm to Lafayette, who could not legally purchase a firearm himself because he was a convicted felon. Such a transaction is commonly known as a “straw purchase.” During the hearing, the government stated that, on November 17, 2020, at the direction of Lafayette and Lewis, Corruthers purchased a Glock 48, nine-millimeter, semi-automatic pistol and Sellier & Bellot, nine-millimeter ammunition, from a federal firearms licensee (FFL) in Indianapolis. During the purchase, Corruthers falsely certified on an ATF form that she was the actual buyer of the firearm, when in fact, she purchased the firearm for Lafayette and gave it to Lewis to transfer to him.

Corruthers further admitted that she conspired with Lewis and Lafayette to cover up the discovery of their illegal purchase and transfer of the firearm by falsely reporting to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department on April 26, 2021, that the Glock pistol was stolen from her around March of 2021. The government stated that, approximately twenty-three days after Corruthers falsely reported the firearm stolen, Lafayette used the firearm to shoot and kill Champaign Police Officer Christopher Oberheim in Champaign, Illinois. Corruthers admitted that she and Corruthers continued the cover-up after Officer Oberheim’s death by agreeing to falsely tell an ATF Special Agent investigating the officer-involved shooting that she purchased the gun for herself, that it was stolen from her in March of 2021, and that she did not know Lafayette.

Corruthers remains released on conditions of bond pending sentencing. Lewis remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending her sentencing, which previously was scheduled for October 2, 2023, at the U.S. Courthouse in Urbana, Illinois

Both Corruthers and Lewis face statutory penalties of up to five years in prison for conspiracy to illegally purchase and transfer a firearm and up to twenty years in prison for conspiracy to engage in misleading conduct. Each charge also carries a penalty of up to three years of supervised release and up to a $250,000 fine.

The case investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugene L. Miller is currently representing the government in the prosecution.

The case against Corruthers was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN).  PSN is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

Updated June 23, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods