Diondre Shanklin was expecting a sexual encounter with two women, arranged via Facebook messenger. But what he got on that mid-July evening, police say, is a bullet in the neck that killed him.
Shanklin, 24, of Cahokia, was found face-down on the edge of a vacant lot at the edge of St. Ambrose Drive in Cahokia just before midnight on July 14. Blood was seeping from his nose and mouth.
A Major Case Squad investigation ensued.
Newly released documents from the investigation show Shanklin was catfished — romantically duped by a fictitious Facebook profile. The documents, part of a police application for a search warrant for Facebook records, say Shanklin was lured to his death by messages, nude photos and promises of a three-way sex act from the Facebook page of a woman named “Jessica Wells.”
On her Facebook page, Wells was depicted as a beautiful, 23-year-old, single, Belleville East High School graduate who now lived in Cahokia and worked on an assembly line. She told Shanklin in an online conversation she lived in “The John,” slang for the St. John Subdivision in Cahokia, according to the police documents.
The two exchanged messages. Their ardor increased to exchanges of nude photos and amorous conversations. Finally, on the night of July 14, Wells asked Shanklin to meet her, promised sex with her and another female, and directed him to the bus stop where she would be waiting, according to the search warrant.
But Wells didn’t exist.
Wells’ Facebook page was connected to an email address that belonged to Christopher Nettles — the ex-boyfriend of Shanklin’s girlfriend. Police surmised that Nettles, 23, of Belleville, may have created the page to eliminate his romantic rival.
A Google image search of the pictures on Wells’ Facebook account revealed the same image appeared on numerous websites, including one called “Black Girls with Swag.”
Alexis Smith, Shanklin’s girlfriend, told police that Nettles was abusive to her and told her he “would take care of someone if he needed to.” She also told police that Nettles kept guns at an acquaintance’s home, the application for a search warrant stated.
In an interview with officers, Nettles told police that he shot Shanklin, but that he did it in self-defense.
The Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis applied for at least nine search warrants for Facebook accounts and cellphone records.
Three days after the killing, Nettles was arrested.
Nettles now faces first-degree murder charges. He remained in St. Clair County Jail on on Friday with bail set at $750,000. Before this, Nettles had no felony charges on his record.
His attorneys, Grant Menges and Ben Song, declined to comment.