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Press Release

Two men plead guilty to federal charges in retaliatory drug murder in St. Louis

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri

ST. LOUIS – Two men from St. Louis County on Monday admitted their involvement in a retaliatory murder in 2020.

Cevone Weeden, 26, pleaded guilty Monday in front of U.S. District Judge Ronnie L. White to two felony counts: conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances possession with intent to distribute controlled substances and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime that resulted in murder.

Herschell Perkins, 37, pleaded guilty to the firearm charge.

As part of his plea, Weeden admitted firing at least 12 shots at Joel Phillips, 22, in the parking lot of a McDonald’s at 1420 Hampton Avenue in St. Louis on August 20, 2022.

Two days before the murder, Phillips had arranged to buy fentanyl from Weeden, his source of supply of the drug, but instead robbed Weeden and then blocked Weeden’s phone number.

Weeden enlisted another person to call Phillips and arrange to buy fentanyl, a ploy designed to lure Phillips out into the open so Weeden could retaliate.

After Phillips agreed to meet the buyer at the McDonald’s, Perkins drove Weeden to the area, watched Phillips, and then picked Weeden up after the murder.

Phillips was found dead in the driver’s seat of his vehicle, along with $1,814 in cash, a gun, a phone and 156 capsules containing a mixture of drugs including the fentanyl Phillips stole from Weeden.

As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors have agreed to recommend no more than 25 years in prison for Weeden. He is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 1.

Both prosecutors and Perkins’ lawyer have agreed to recommend 15 years in prison for Perkins, who is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 2.

The case was investigated by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Updated August 1, 2022

Violent Crime
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses