Mt. Vernon Register-News

January 22, 2014

Murder charges filed in death

By RICK HAYES rick.hayes@register-news.com
The Register-News

---- — MT. VERNON — A lengthy police investigation has led to charges being filed in the city’s only unsolved homicide, occurring nearly 3 1/2 years ago.

Marventi D. Palmer, 27, currently incarcerated on drug-related charges in the Department of Corrections at Vienna, was formally charged Tuesday with two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the Aug. 8, 2010, shooting death of Deon Feggins, 15, of Mt. Vernon.

Feggins was shot shortly after 10 p.m. in the 1800 block of Conger Avenue while riding a bicycle. Police reports indicate five or six shots were heard in the area at the time, and Feggins was shot multiple times. When found by police, Feggins had a faint pulse and was taken to Good Samaritan Regional Health Center, where he was pronounced dead at 10:33 p.m.

The charges state that Palmer allegedly “without lawful justification, shot Deon Feggins with a firearm, thereby causing the death of Dean Feggins, knowing that such acts created a strong probability of death or great bodily harm to Deon Feggins.”

If convicted, 25 years of up to a term of natural life will be added to the term of imprisonment imposed by the court if, during commission of the offense, the defendant personally discharged a firearm that proximately caused death to Feggins, Jefferson County State’s Attorney Doug Hoffman, filed in one of the counts.

“He’s been a suspect during the whole time period,” said Chief of Police Chris Mendenall, who said

recent developments led to a break in the case.

“It takes proof beyond a reasonable doubt for a jury, and we’ve been working this case since it happened. Through the investigation, it’s taken this much time to get enough information together that the state’s attorney feels comfortable in charging it now.”

Mendenall and Hoffman declined to elaborate on how Palmer became the prime suspect in the homicide.

Hoffman commended the department for “not giving up on this case.” Hoffman said, “It involves a lot of evidence. Ever since I took office I became aware of it quickly and started reviewing the matter. We would have meetings and discussions throughout the process. We’ve reached a point now where there is enough evidence I believe to have it charged and proceed through the justice system.” Hoffman added the victim’s mother, Wanda Feggins Hodges, was notified of the latest development, resulting in a positive response.

“This one clears the only homicide we’ve had recently,” Mendenall said. “It’s only been 3 1/2 years but I don’t want any unsolved homicides. I don’t think any chief, or state’s attorney, or any criminal justice official wants any homicide unsolved.”

Mendenall praised the work of his detective team, led by Captain Jeff Bullard.

“Kudos to him because he stayed on top of this. He stayed on top of it with his staff, and three other detectives — Nathan Franklin, Matt Gordon and Rodney Sweetin — worked hard on it with him. None of these guys were originally on the case when it happened. They did great work.”

Shortly after Feggins was shot, Mt. Vernon police had a visible presence in the southern residential portion of the city following a series of shootings. In March 2010, a man was wounded when his vehicle was shot at while while in the area of South 14th Street and Conger Avenue. Four days later police arrested a teen on charges of aggravated battery and aggravated discharge of a firearm; and an unidentified juvenile was arrested the same day after shooting a man in the left thigh and found at the corner of South 17th and Cherry streets.

Palmer, who was a Mt. Vernon resident prior to his incarceration, is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence in DOC for a Jan. 14, 2012, conviction in Jefferson County for the manufacture/delivery of cocaine between 1 and 15 grams. Palmer has an extensive criminal history in Jefferson County.