Indicted man shot dead in 2017 in east St. Louis


Belleville man arrested in East St. Louis in 2017

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A Belleville man has been arrested and charged in the 2017 shooting death of a man during an attempted robbery in East St. Louis, Illinois State Police announced on Tuesday.


James D. O’Neal, 33, is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Philllip S. Smith, 21, of East St. Louis and aggravated battery with a firearm in the shooting of a Belleville man, whose identity was not released, according to a news release. The injured victim was shot multiple times and eventually was released from the hospital.


Two others were charged more than five years ago in the shootings and were sentenced to prison, according to a news release from the state police.


The release did not explain what led to O’Neal’s arrest so long after the Aug. 13, 2017, shootings at the Norman E. Owens housing complex.


The St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s Office approved the charges on Monday. On Tuesday, O’Neal was arrested by agents of the Illinois State Police and U.S. Marshals, the release states. He is being held in the St. Clair County Jail.


Devonte Lindsey, 20, of Cahokia Heights and Shavon Brownlee, 24, of East St. Louis, were the others charged earlier in the shootings. Lindsey was arrested on Nov. 3, 2017, while Brownlee was arrested Nov. 15, 2017.


Police received a call at 2:22 a.m. that morning that shots had been fired and a man was down at the 1100 block of Division Avenue at the housing complex, authorities said at the time. Smith was found in the driver’s seat of a car and the other wounded man was in the passenger seat. Both had been shot multiple times. The two men were reportedly dropping off a visitor at the complex.

Carolyn P. Smith has worked for Belleville News-Democrat since 2000 and currently covers breaking news for Metro East. She graduated from her school of journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and she says news is in her DNA.
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