Metro-East News

Murder suspect back in jail after reportedly violating bond conditions

Darren J. McCloud Jr.
Darren J. McCloud Jr.

A murder suspect out on bond was booked back into the St. Clair County jail on Friday after he violated his bond by traveling to unauthorized locations on seven days in November, according to court records.

Darran J. McCloud Jr., now 21, was charged with first-degree murder on Feb. 27, 2015, and arrested on a $1 million bail.

In December 2016 the Shiloh man was released from jail on a $17,500 cash bond and put on monitored house arrest; later, a judge granted him permission to attend church and visit his grandmother three times a week. He was charged a fee of $7.50 a day for monitoring costs.

A document filed Friday said he was behind on payments by almost $1,500 and he violated the terms of his electronic monitoring by traveling to an unauthorized location multiple times. An arrest warrant was then issued.

Prosecutors say McCloud fatally shot 19-year-old Frederick Purnell in what appeared to be a drug robbery gone wrong on Feb. 20, 2015 in East St. Louis. McCloud’s then-16-year-old friend and accomplice, Daishawn Stacker, was shot but survived.

McCloud was an 18-year-old high school junior when the shooting occurred.

Court records indicate prosecuting attorneys have appealed a judge’s decision to exclude a portion of his police interview regarding the shooting. Defense attorneys initially argued the teen’s Miranda Rights were violated and his confession at the end of the hours-long interview.

In a motion to exclude his interview and confession in a jury trial, McCloud’s former defense attorney Justin Kuehn summarized charges against McCloud.

He wrote that police say McCloud and his friend Stacker called a marijuana dealer named Montgomery Lent, who came to meet the two high school students in the 1700 block of Boismenue Avenue in East St. Louis.

When Lent arrived, Stacker allegedly got in the backseat of his car pretending to be interested in purchasing drugs.

“Not long after Stacker entered the vehicle, Mr. McCloud began to approach Lent on the driver’s side, armed with an assault rifle,” Kuehn wrote in the motion to suppress McCloud’s confession to the police after the shooting.

When Lent saw McCloud, he began to drive off. At that point, Kuehn wrote, McCloud fired at the vehicle’s bumper with the rifle in “effort to stop the vehicle.”

“He lost control of the rifle, accidentally shooting Purnell, as well as his friend and accomplice, Mr. Stacker,” Kuehn wrote of the prosecution’s allegations. Purnell was in the front passenger seat of the car.

Lent and his 11-year-old sister, who was in the car at the time, were unharmed, according to a previous BND report.

In an interview with police, McCloud told officers he was in a home at the time of the shooting and did not shoot at the car. However, officers continued to tell the teenager they knew he was responsible and he should admit his mistake. They also told McCloud they conducted a voice stress test and that he failed.

Several hours in, McCloud continued to tell police he did not shoot Purnell.

However, about seven hours into the interview, Kuehn wrote in his motion to suppress the interview that McCloud admitted to officers he shot at the bumper of Lent’s car five times.

McCloud’s attorney said his confession was involuntary and officers violated McCloud’s Miranda Rights because he had “asserted his right to remain silent.”

Judge John Baricevic wrote in his order that McCloud told investigators surveillance footage would prove his innocence, saying “cause I don’t want to say nothin.” Special Agent Denis Janis replied with “What difference does it make?”

Baricevic ruled that anything said after McCloud said he did not want to talk could not be used in court including his confession, saying it was an unequivocal request to remain silent.

Currently, prosecuting attorneys are appealing the judge’s decision in a higher court.

McCloud was listed as a St. Clair County jail inmate Monday morning. His bail was set at $30,000, meaning he would have to post a $3,000 cash bond to be released.

He is scheduled for a status hearing in January. His current defense attorney, Lloyd Cueto, did not immediately return calls for comment.