Man who shot at vehicle near Marengo, later struck man with metal bat gets 12 years in prison

Carson J. Maxwell’s family said he suffered ‘incomprehensible’ neglect and abuse as child

Carson J. Maxwell

A Belvidere man accused of firing a gun at a vehicle carrying two children near Marengo, then months later striking a man with a baseball bat, was sentenced Thursday to 12 years in prison.

In March, Carson J. Maxwell, 25, pleaded guilty to aggravated discharge of a firearm and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, according to McHenry County court records.

He is required to serve 85% of a 10-year sentence for the firearm charge followed by two years of mandatory supervised release and 50% of two years for the battery with one year mandatory supervised release. He will receive credit for 415 days spent in the county jail and an additional 84 days, half day credit for each day he spent working, volunteering or in self-improvement programs, according to sentencing orders.

On Wednesday, his family members spoke on his behalf during his sentencing hearing, asking for leniency. They said he suffered “incomprehensible” neglect and abuse as a child, leading to his poor decisions.

Maxwell was accused of firing a gun at an SUV on June 26, 2022, west of Marengo. The incident involving the baseball bat occurred March 29, 2023. His pretrial bond on the shooting was revoked the next day and he was taken into custody of the county jail where he has remained since, according to jail and court records.

Judge Mark Gerhardt heard the family’s statements Wednesday and continued the sentencing to Thursday, saying he needed time to review the case.

Maxwell’s father and two of his 11 siblings traveled from Texas and one appeared virtually. They said he would have a home and their support after prison. He would have help finding a job and counseling. Since his arrest, he has had time to think about his life and has changed, they said. He has participated in classes and counseling, attended church and worked in the jail.

Steven Maxwell, Carson’s father, said his son is a “loving” person who has been “humbled by his arrest. He knows he’s made some bad decisions.” He said he is not making excuses for what his son is accused of, but is “asking the court to consider giving him a chance to rebuild himself.”

Betsy Rose Maxwell, Carson’s sister, said she, Carson and all their siblings “suffered incomprehensible neglect and abuse” as children and Carson got the worst of it. He has “made changes in the last year” and his family will be there when he is released. “With time, grace and healing,” he will be successful, she said.

Assistant State’s Attorney Justin Neubauer said Carson’s actions have shown a “disregard for authority” and argued Maxwell be sentenced to 15 years in prison.

“He admitted to shooting at other people,” Neubauer said. “... He poses serious harm. ... He chose to do these things to people he barely knows.”

Neubauer said the vehicle Carson Maxwell shot at, “not knowing who was in it,” had two children inside, ages 3 and 8. Nine months later, he “pursued a man after a verbal altercation in a bar with a baseball bat” and struck him with it. At the time of the altercation, Maxwell was on pretrial bond for the Marengo shooting and probation for a Winnebago County conviction of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, Neubauer said.

But, his defense attorney David Franks said the offenses are “not as egregious as the state would suggest” and asked for a prison term of six years.

Franks noted the victim in the baseball bat incident was not in court and declined any medical treatment at the scene. Of the shooting, Franks said at the time Maxwell was being followed by the other vehicle. He pulled over and the vehicle pulled up behind him. A man got out and approached Carson. The man then left the scene and did not call 911. Someone else nearby did, Franks said.

Franks said Maxwell “was clearly abused as a young child,” from which he suffers post-traumatic stress disorder. He has served in the military and since a driving-under-the-influence charge in Winnebago County, he has completed alcohol and substance abuse treatment.

“He takes his actions seriously,” Franks said. “He has turned the corner. He wants to return to Texas. His family will be there for him.”

In the Winnebago County case, Maxwell pleaded guilty Aug. 22, 2022, and received probation, Winnebago County court records show.

Carson Maxwell also spoke. He told Gerhardt he is deeply regretful for his actions and said they were influenced by drugs and alcohol. He apologized to the victims and said, “I thank God no one was injured.”

“I am ashamed of the person I was at the time and those I surrounded myself with,” he said. “I look forward to building a new life. I wish every day I could take those actions back.”

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