News and Press Releases

Ringleader in Roosevelt Housing Shooting Incident Sentenced to 63 Months' Imprisonment

December 14, 2012

Ceontae D. Matthews, 20, of East St. Louis, Illinois, was sentenced in federal district court today in East St. Louis to 63 months’ imprisonment, 3 years’ supervised release, a $100 special assessment, and a fine of $625, following his plea of guilty on August 31, 2012, to an Indictment charging him with Possession of a Firearm by a User of Controlled Substances, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced.

The charges relate to an incident that occurred on September 5, 2011, in the Roosevelt Housing Complex in East St. Louis, Illinois. Documents filed with the courtrevealed that Ceontae Matthews received a phone call from his brother, Lee Matthews, indicating that there had been an altercation at their mother’s house in the Roosevelt Housing Complex. Ceontae Matthews obtained the help of three other men – Pierre Knowles, Cornell Eiland, and “AH”; Knowles drove the group to the home of Jonathan Franklin, where they obtained two firearms – a Masterpiece Arms, 9 mm. semi-automatic pistol and a Norinco SKS 7.62 caliber semi-automatic rifle. Knowles then drove Ceontae Matthews, Cornell Eiland, and AH to the Roosevelt Housing Complex. While the group was at the complex, a crowd began to gather, and someone in the crowd displayed a firearm. Knowles then fired several rounds from the pistol into the air. Matthews tried to chamber a round in the Norinco, but he could not get it to work properly. The four men then left the area, again with Knowles driving his vehicle. The car was stopped by a Centreville police officer for disobeying a stop sign. The officer saw the Norinco rifle barrel protruding from beneath a backpack that Matthews held in his lap; consequently, the officer removed all of the men from the vehicle. Police then recovered the Norinco and the Masterpiece Arms pistol from the vehicle.

“It is unacceptable that the residents of the federal housing projects in East St. Louis have come to be terrorized by shootings and gunplay. I applaud the efforts of our law enforcement partners who are working daily to expel the criminal element from the projects,” said United States Attorney Wigginton.

AH was not charged in this case. Ceontae Matthews, Pierre Knowles, Cornell Eiland all pled guilty to charges relating to this incident. Knowles was sentenced September 28, 2012, to 18 months’ imprisonment; Eiland was sentenced August 10, 2012, to 23 months’ imprisonment.

Jonathan Franklin was sentenced April 27, 2012, to 51 months’ imprisonment for possession of the same firearms as a convicted felon. However, he did not go to the housing complex with the other defendants. It was revealed in court that Franklin stored the guns at his residence, and that the other defendants had picked them up and dropped them off at Franklin’s residence several times prior to September 5, 2011.

Lee Matthews was sentenced November 2, 2012, to 24 months’ imprisonment for possession of the same firearms as a user of a controlled substance. However, his possession of the firearms occurred in August, 2011; he did not possess the firearms on the date of incident at the housing complex.

The case was investigated by members of the Centreville Police Department and by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen B. Clark.





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