A former high school basketball star from Lake County was found guilty by a jury late Thursday of threatening his probation officer after she refused to let him take a court-ordered drug test.
Jereme Richmond, 21, of the 2000 block of Arthur Drive in Waukegan, now faces up to seven years in prison after being found guilty on two of three counts of witness intimidation, said defense attorney Lawrence Wade.
Richmond, who has been locked up in Lake County jail since his April 25 arrest, is due to be sentenced next month.
Prosecutors said Richmond threatened his probation officer and intimidated three Lake County probation office employees when he pantomimed firing a gun during a heated exchange at the Waukegan probation office.
But Wade said in court that the county employees who witnessed Richmond's gestures inflated their hysteria over their confrontation and that Richmond was just trying to do the things the court had required him to do.
Richmond, who played basketball at Waukegan High School and one year at the University of Illinois before going undrafted by the NBA, was sentenced to 18 months of probation in 2011 for unlawful use of a weapon after pleading guilty to threatening his ex-girlfriend with a gun, authorities said.
As part of the sentence, Richmond was required to take routine drug tests to ensure he was conforming to his sentence. However, authorities said Richmond ignored a request on April 22 to take the drug test at the probation offices in Waukegan following a meeting with his female probation officer.
The probation officer asked Richmond twice more in the next two days to take the test, authorities said, but Richmond either didn't show up at the probation office as promised or offered excuses as to why he couldn't take the court-ordered drug test.
On April 24, the probation officer asked the Lake County state's attorney's office to schedule a court hearing because of Richmond's refusal to take the drug test. But, Richmond drove to the probation office at 4:55 p.m. on April 25 and requested to take the test.
Because of the scheduled probation hearing the next morning and because he arrived five minutes before the probation office closed, the probation officer told Richmond to leave.
After being told to leave, Richmond told the female probation officer, "Be safe. Be real safe." He then went to his vehicle, sat in the car for an extended time, and pantomimed firing a gun, authorities said.
The probation officer called Lake County sheriff's deputies, who arrested Richmond on harassment charges.