Rantoul teen present at fatal shooting charged as an adult

URBANA — A second teen who was present when a 3-year-old Urbana boy was fatally shot last week is being held at the Champaign County Jail after being charged as an adult.

Dequan Deshawn Fenderson, 17, who listed an address in Rantoul, pleaded innocent on Friday to felony unlawful possession of a handgun by a person under age 18 and felony possession of a controlled substance.

Champaign County State's Attorney Julia Rietz said Fenderson is on probation for a juvenile delinquency aggravated battery offense, involving a battery to a teacher in 2010.

"Initially we had chosen to deal with the situation as a petition to revoke his probation in juvenile court, but additional investigation has given us new evidence," Rietz said. "This evidence has led us to decide adult charges are more appropriate."

Rietz said Urbana police have analyzed Fenderson's cellphone and found photos of Fenderson holding a gun to the head of a 13-year-old girl.

Rietz said the gun in the cellphone photos appears to be the same gun used last week to fatally shoot the 3-year-old boy in Urbana.

The charge alleges that Fenderson had constructive possession of a handgun during the shooting and that he possessed less than 0.035 ounce (1 gram) of cocaine at the same time. Constructive possession implies Fenderson was aware of and in the presence of the gun even though someone else was holding it.

Rietz said Fenderson was staying at the house at 905 E. Pennsylvania Ave., U, sleeping on an air mattress in the same bedroom as the toddler's 14-year-old uncle and was present when the younger teen was handling the gun on May 16.

The 14-year-old took the magazine from the gun, which he allegedly stole from a Rantoul home in February, and thought it was no longer loaded.

However, a single round remained in the chamber and struck the toddler in the head when the teen pointed it at him and pulled the trigger. The 14-year-old was charged last week with involuntary manslaughter and unlawful possession of a weapon.

On Wednesday, Judge Heidi Ladd released the 14-year-old boy to his mother, placed him on home confinement and ordered him to be in the custody of a responsible adult who is at least 30 years old.

Meanwhile, a juvenile petition to revoke Fenderson's probation for the aggravated battery that took place in 2010 was withdrawn because the state's attorney has filed the new charges.

On Friday, Judge Harry Clem set Fenderson's bond at $20,000 and scheduled his next court appearance for June 12.

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