Jury takes just 30 minutes to reach verdict in 13-year-old boy’s murder

Laroyce McFadden
Laroyce McFadden

Laroyce McFadden was 17 when he shot and killed 13-year-old Clayton Veninga on a Granite City street in 2013. Now he faces up to 85 years in prison for murder.

McFadden, now 21, was convicted Thursday of the murder of Veninga on May 3, 2013. Veninga was sitting on a front porch on Cleveland Boulevard when he was shot. McFadden confessed to a number of different scenarios in a series of recorded statements presented at trial, according to news reports.

McFadden was charged with first-degree murder, a Class M felony. The two-day trial ended with only 30 minutes of jury deliberation before a guilty verdict was returned.

“This was a senseless act of violence that ended in the worst way,” said Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons. “I hope that this guilty verdict serves as a message we will not allow these acts of violence in Madison County.”

Gibbons also offered his condolences to Veninga’s family. “I am hopeful that this conviction provides the family with some comfort and closure during this tragic chapter in their lives,” he said. “They remain in our thoughts and prayers.”

A presentence investigation will take place for the next six to eight weeks. The murder conviction carries a sentence of 20 to 60 years in prison, with a potential 25-year extension due to the use of a firearm. McFadden therefore faces a minimum of 45 years and up to 85 years in prison. He will be required to serve 100 percent.

Madison County Circuit Court Judge Richard Tognarelli presided over the case, with assistant state’s attorney Crystal Uhe as prosecutor. As of Thursday afternoon, McFadden remains in custody at the Madison County Jail pending sentencing.

Elizabeth Donald: 618-239-2507, @BNDedonald