Police: Killing near Belleville was not 'random act'

News-DemocratFebruary 12, 2014 

Neighbor Bruce Mitzen describes what he heard above his apartment during Sunday's shooting death at his apartment complex at the 5900 block of Gateway Industrial Drive in unincorporated Belleville.

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Three people were charged in connection with the Sunday shooting death of a 25-year-old man in his apartment near Belleville.

Anthony P. Allen, 21, of Cape Girardeau, Mo., and Amanda M. Kent, 26, of O'Fallon, each were charged Tuesday with first-degree murder in the death of Darrin Hayes. Bail was set for each suspect at $1 million.

A third suspect, Brittney Y. Moore, 24, of Belleville, was charged with obstructing justice. Her bail was set at $250,000.

All three suspects were being held in the St. Clair County Jail.

St. Clair County Sheriff's Department Lt. Michael Hundelt, deputy commander of the Major Case Squad, said he could not comment on evidence or motive, since it remains an ongoing investigation.

He said police were not aware of a relationship between the victim and the suspects, but that investigators "don't believe this was a random act."

"By no means are we finished with this," Hundelt said Wednesday in a news conference at the St. Clair County Jail.

Hayes was shot multiple times before 1 p.m. Sunday at his apartment at 5902 Gateway Industrial Drive in unincorporated Belleville. He was pronounced dead after being transported to Belleville Memorial Hospital.

Hayes' two children, 2 years old and 2 months old, were in the apartment at the time of the shooting but were not harmed.

"What they may or may not have witnessed is difficult to tell," Hundelt said.

A vehicle was seen leaving the apartment complex after the shooting. A police broadcast was sent out notifying neighboring police departments of the description of the vehicle, Hundelt said.

About 2 p.m., a vehicle matching that description was pulled over near the St. Clair County Jail. Allen was the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle. Evidence in the car was found related to the slaying, Hundelt said.

Four people were taken into custody within 24 to 48 hours of the shooting, Hundelt said.

Information was sent to St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly Tuesday and charges were issued against three of those suspects, Hundelt said.

The Major Case Squad was activated Sunday afternoon.

St. Clair County Sheriff Richard Watson said he appreciated the Major Case Squad's work to find suspects in this investigation and another recent murder in Parkfield Terrace.

"Without their help, we couldn't have done this," Watson said. "We got them both. We solved them both."

The Major Case Squad continues to ask for the public's help with the investigation. Anyone with information should call the Major Case Squad at 618-825-5200 or 618-825-5781 or CrimeStoppers at 866-371-5477.

Contact reporter Maria Hasenstab at mhasenstab@bnd.com or 618-239-2460.