Missouri man sentenced to 25 years in prison for retaliatory drug murder

Missouri Department of Corrections mugshot of Cevone Weeden header photo

U.S. District Judge Ronnie L. White on Wednesday sentenced a man from St. Louis County to 25 years in prison for a retaliatory drug murder in 2020.

Cevone Weeden, now 26, fired 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, 2020.

Weeden’s co-defendant, Herschell Perkins, 37, was sentenced on November 2 to 15 years in prison.

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

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

Perkins drove Weeden to the McDonald’s and the pair watched Phillips for nearly two hours. Perkins 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.

Weeden and Perkins both pleaded guilty on August 1. Weeden pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime that resulted in the death of Phillips. Perkins pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the firearm charge.

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