A Cahokia man will spend at least 15 years in prison for breaking into an 86-year-old man’s house in July 2016 and providing the gun used to shoot him in the leg.
Teondre Foughter was accused — along with Aaron Samuel and Ceonta Jackson — of breaking into Henry Wicker’s Cahokia home on July 26, 2016, where they shot his knee and robbed the man before leaving him injured and alone for hours afterward.
However, a year after being charged, Foughter reached an agreement with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to aggravated battery of a firearm in connection to the home invasion. In exchange, he agreed to testify against his two co-defendants — Samuel, 21, and Jackson, 23 — had they not pleaded guilty and instead gone to trial.
Prosecutor John Trippi noted on Tuesday in court that Foughter did provide the gun used to shoot Wicker, but it was Jackson that pulled the trigger.
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“His cooperation helped bring this case to a resolution,” Trippi said, addressing Judge Robert Haida.
Before Haida sentenced Foughter, the 20-year-old man spoke in court.
“I take full responsibility for my actions that got me here,” he said. “I haven’t had a father, but I know that does not justify my actions. It’s time for me to become a man.”
He went on to say he was sorry for what had happened and asked for forgiveness.
Foughter’s mother and sister also addressed the court Tuesday morning. They both noted Foughter suffered from mental health and substance issues, along with issues stemming from his father dying at a very young age.
“He’s apologized multiple times about what had happened and the part he played in the incident,” Leondra Drake told the court. “... When he first came into (jail) he was still kind of childish, but as time passed he became more mature and he became more thoughtful toward us.”
His sister Tarkisha Hamblan echoed what her mother said, noting Foughter was a great basketball player.
“He was going through some things — but overall he was a great person and anyone who knew him could see that,” she said. “... We all make mistakes, but this is something he has to learn from and grow from.”
Trippi noted in summarizing the incident that Foughter did partake in the “joyride” the men took in Wicker’s car and afterward wiped it down with bleach pads.
“He followed in (to the house) and was right there when this went down,” Trippi said of Foughter, adding that Samuel knew the 86-year-old man because he had done lawn work for him.
The prosecutor said Foughter and the others left the man with a gunshot wound alone at his home late at night. He was found by someone hours later.
Trippi asked Haida to sentenced Foughter to 10 years, 85 percent of which he would be required to serve.
Public defense attorney Erica Szewczyk told the court Foughter’s life has not been easy and her client became cooperative with police almost immediately.
“He was not the mastermind of the operation,” she said. “... I think it’s clear Mr. Foughter did not want anything to happen to Mr. Wicker. It shows he has a moral compass. I do believe that accounts for a lot.”
The fact that he didn’t die is a miracle.”
Judge Robert Haida
Szewczyk asked Haida to sentence him to six years, saying he is young and his chance for rehabilitation is high.
“The acts by you and your comrades — preying upon an innocent, elderly person — are among the worst that come before this court,” Haida said in his deliberation. “The fact that he didn’t die is a miracle.”
Haida noted that Foughter’s family was also victimized by the crime.
“Think about your family and how you made them suffer,” he said, sentencing Foughter to 18 years, 85 percent of which he would be required to serve.
Several family members were visibly upset in the court room after the sentence was announced. Foughter’s mother left the room in tears.
Samuel was sentenced in July to serve 12 years in prison, of which he is also required to serve at least 85 percent. Jackson faces a sentence of six to 30 years and is set to be sentenced on Nov. 6.