Man’s conviction should serve as warning against following ‘street code,’ prosecutor says

A previously convicted Alorton man pleaded guilty in federal court to shooting and wounding his former friend who he believed told police about his drug operation.

U.S. Attorney Steven D. Weinhoeft announced Thursday that 39-year-old Terez L. Fenderson pleaded guilty in federal court to charges he attempted to retaliate against a witness or informant, unlawfully possessed a firearm as a convicted felon and discharged a firearm in connection with a crime of violence. Fenderson now faces up to 40 years in prison.

“This case should serve as a warning that federal law enforcement will relentlessly pursue those who embrace the ‘code of the street” by threatening or retaliating against witnesses,” Weinhoeft said.

Fenderson had previously spent six years in prison for a 2005 St. Clair County conviction of involuntary manslaughter.

Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms agents went to Fenderson’s Alorton home Feb. 5, 2016 on south 40th Street, according to the news release. Fenderson was sitting on the front porch when police arrived but ran inside and locked the door when federal agents announced their presence and said they had a search warrant.

Agents eventually forced their way into the home and searched the residence. they say they found more than four pounds of marijuana and some packaging materials inside Fenderson’s home during the search. They also reported finding a semi-automatic pistol on the dining room table.

Agents said another 68 pounds of marijuana was found at Fenderson’s girlfriend’s house.

Fenderson waived his Miranda rights and admitted the gun was his, according to federal documents.

Fenderson’s friend, identified as “T. R.,” stopped by the house while the initial search was happening and spoke to investigators, according to federal documents.

“Evidence presented at Fenderson’s plea hearing established that, while on bond pending trial, Fenderson became convinced that a former drug associate had cooperated against him in the federal investigation,” Weinhoeft wrote in a press release.

Fenderson saw social media photos of T.R. on Oct. 22, 2017 and went to Spanky’s Lounge, located at 1434 Piggott Ave. in East St. Louis, with two other people to confront him.

T.R. ran and hid but Fenderson and the two other people found him at 15th and Piggott streets., a news release stated. Fenderson and another man shot at him, hitting his hip and lower leg. T.R. was taken to the hospital for two broken bones and multiple surgeries.

Fenderson was re-arrested on November 2, 2017 and his bond was revoked, the release stated. He remained in custody as of Friday morning.

The Attorney General announced the justice department charged more defendants with violent crimes in 2018 than in any other year since the department began tracking the statistic more than 25 years ago, Weinhoeft wrote.

Carolyn P. Smith: 618-239-2503, @carolynhendri18