MADISON COUNTY, Ill. – A judge sentenced an Alton man to decades in prison over a 2020 murder case.

Charlton Merchant, 30, was sentenced to 58 years in prison on first-degree murder and felon in possession of a weapon charges.

A jury previously convicted Merchant of fatally shooting Terence J. Hicks during a dispute in downtown Alton on Oct. 11, 2020. Police were patrolling around the area and heard gunfire. Hicks suffered gunshot wounds and died from his injuries.

According to the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office, Merchant bragged about having a gun and posted photos on one of his social media accounts prior to the shooting. Before that, he was previously jailed in a sexual assault case from 2008.

“This crime was senseless. It caused much sorrow and grief for the family of T.J. Hicks, and it
alarmed our community,” said Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Haine. “Hopefully, this sentence brings a measure of closure for the family, and gives citizens confidence that the justice system in Madison County is dedicated to keeping our neighborhoods and our downtown areas safe.”

Merchant will be required to serve at least his full 55-year prison term for first-degree murder.