ST. LOUIS – A man will spend 25 years in prison over a 2020 retaliatory drug murder in the Dogtown area of St. Louis City.

A federal judge sentenced Cevone Weeden, 26, to 25 years in prison on Wednesday, nearly four months after pleading guilty to crimes.

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 died at the age of 22.

Two days before the murder, Phillips arranged to buy fentanyl from 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 another man, Herschell 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 and Perkins both pleaded guilty to federal charges on August 1. Perkins was sentenced to 15 years in prison in November.