PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A Peoria man was sentenced to 23 years in prison Wednesday in connection with a fatal shooting in 2021 at a South Peoria gas station.

Demarian Palmer, 19, pleaded guilty in Peoria County Circuit Court to one count of aggravated battery in connection with the May 8, 2021, shooting of Joshua Perkins at the MacArthur Shell gas station, located at 200 N. MacArthur Highway. In return for his plea, charges of first-degree murder, aggravated discharge of a firearm and attempted armed robbery were dropped.

Dude to Palmer being 17 at the time of the shooting, he is eligible for a parole hearing in 10 years. That’s different from adults who must serve all their time, minus whatever they earn for “good-time’ credit.

Without the plea, he faced a minimum of 20 years in prison and possibly decades more. Additionally, had he been convicted of murder, then he would have had to serve every day of whatever sentence was imposed.

Palmer was one of two men charged in connection with Perkins’ death. The other was Arenza Brown, 20, who was sentenced last October to 38 years in prison after being convicted of murder.

The shooting appeared to be a botched robbery, according to court records. At about 11:30 p.m. that night, Brown went up to Perkins’ vehicle, which was parked at the gas station, and asked if he was selling marijuana.

Testimony during Brown’s September 2022, trial indicated that Brown left Perkins’ vehicle where the two had been talking, went back to his vehicle and noted the large amount of money that Perkins had.

At some point, Brown walked back over to Perkins and pulled a gun. The two began to tussle and the gun went off. Palmer, according to court records, had gone to the back of Perkins’ vehicle in an attempt to get into the car by way of the back seat but that door was locked.

Under state law, Palmer must serve at least 85% of his sentence, meaning that with nearly two years already served, he could get out of prison in about 18 years.