URBANA, IL. – A Chicago man serving a 25 year federal prison term for his role in a cocaine and crack cocaine distribution conspiracy is now facing murder charges. A federal grand jury has charged Freddell Bryant, age 33, also known as “Freddy Moe,” of Chicago, with three counts of using a firearm during a drug-trafficking crime causing death. The three-count indictment was returned by the grand jury on July 13, 2011, but had remained sealed pending Bryant’s appearance in federal court today before U.S. Magistrate Judge David G. Bernthal. During today’s court appearance, an initial trial date of Oct. 3, 2011, was scheduled.
The indictment alleges that Bryant caused the death of three people in Danville, Ill., on Mar. 25, 2007. The three victims were Rodney Pepper, age 30; Madisen E. Leverenz, age 19; and Tabreyan L. McCullough, age 21.
In March 2009, Bryant pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine in Vermilion County from October 2003 to March 2007. Bryant was sentenced on April 29, 2010, to serve 300 months (25 years) in federal prison. Bryant has remained in federal law enforcement custody since his arrest in Chicago in May 2007.
According to the indictment, on March 24, 2007, Bryant learned that multiple kilograms of cocaine that he had McCullough hold for him had been taken from her Danville home. On March 25, 2007, Bryant and others allegedly took McCullough to an apartment at 1707 East Main Street to confront Leverenz and Pepper, whom Bryant believed were involved in taking the cocaine. The indictment alleges that Bryant used and carried a firearm during and in relation to the drug conspiracy and that he used the firearm which resulted in the murder of Pepper, Leverenz and McCullough.
If convicted, the penalty for each offense is a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and up to life imprisonment or death. U.S. Attorney Jim Lewis, Central District of Illinois, said that a final decision has not been made at this time as to whether the government will seek the death penalty in this case. Such decision is made by the U.S. Attorney General.
The charges are the result of an investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Danville Police Department, and the Vermilion County Metropolitan Enforcement Group. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugene L. Miller in cooperation with the Vermilion County State’s Attorney’s office.
Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.