ST. LOUIS – Two men from St. Louis County pleaded guilty Monday for their roles in a 2020 retaliatory drug murder in the Dogtown area of St. Louis City.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri, Joel Phillips was gunned down in a parking lot outside a McDonald’s restaurant on Hampton Avenue on August 20, 2020. Phillips was 22.

Two days before the murder, Phillips arranged to buy fentanyl from Cevone Weeden but then robbed Weeden of the drug when they met to make the sale. Phillips then blocked Weeden’s phone number.

Weeden admitted to getting another person to call Phillips and arrange to buy fentanyl as a ploy to lure Phillips into the open so Weeden could then kill him.

After Phillips agreed to meet this phony buyer at the restaurant, Weeden enlisted the help of Perkins to drive him to and from the murder scene.

St. Louis police found Phillips dead in the driver’s seat of his car, along with $1,814 in cash, a gun, a phone, and more than 1,500 capsules containing a mixture of drugs including the fentanyl Phillips had stolen from Weeden.

Weeden, 26, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime resulting in murder. Perkins, 37, pleaded guilty to a firearm charge.

As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors have agreed to recommend no more than 25 years in prison for Weeden. He’s scheduled to be sentenced on November 1.

Prosecutors have also agreed to recommend Perkins be sentenced to 15 years. He’ll be sentenced on November 2.