East St. Louis man convicted of murdering Belleville woman

News-DemocratSeptember 13, 2013 

A jury took an hour and a half to convict an East St. Louis man Friday of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.

Garfield J. Fenton, 22, was convicted of stabbing to death Le'Nae Cole, 23, in her home at 607 E. McKinley St., Apt. A, in Belleville in July 2012. Fenton also stabbed Xzavion O'Neal, 25, of East St. Louis during the home invasion.

O'Neal was Le'Nae's boyfriend. He survived the attack but suffered multiple stab wounds to his head, neck, back and shoulders.

A second man, John Cole, 25, of Belleville, was also charged in connection with Cole's death. He is charged with first-degree murder, home invasion, and attempted first-degree murder. John Cole was Le'Nae Cole's estranged husband. She had an order of protection issued against him after she said he choked her and tied her to a chair for two hours. She filed for divorce in May 2012. The couple's two daughters, J'Anyah and Je'Nae, ages 1 and 4, were at home when their mother was stabbed to death.

St. Clair County Assistant State's Attorney Laura Reppert and Kristi Hodel, both members of the office's Violent Crimes Unit, prosecuted the case.

Fenton's $1.5 million bond was revoked after his conviction and he is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 28.

Cole remains in police custody in lieu of a $1.5 million bond and awaits trial.

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