The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

December 5, 2012

Federal murder trial begins

Man a suspect in triple homicide

BY BRIAN L. HUCHEL
Commercial-News

URBANA — Federal trial proceedings are under way this week in Urbana for a man accused in Danville’s 2007 triple homicide.

Freddell Bryant, 33, of Chicago, is charged in connection with the March 25, 2007, shooting deaths of 21-year-old TaBreyon McCullough, 19-year-old Madisen Leverenz and 30-year-old Rodney Pepper in Danville. Bryant is formally charged with three counts of using a firearm during a drug trafficking crime causing death.

In court proceedings on Tuesday, federal prosecutors presented evidence that Bryant, in a 2010 taped statement to law enforcement, admitted to involvement the triple homicide. He contended in the taped statement that he did not enter the home with the intent of killing anyone inside.

The trial is expected to continue into next week.

If convicted, Bryant could face a maximum punishment of life in prison or the death penalty for the three federal counts.

The federal grand jury indictment leveled against Bryant in summer 2011 alleged the murders were as a result of accusations about missing drugs belonging to Bryant.

Bryant, according to the indictment, used McCullough on March 24, 2007, to hold kilogram amounts of cocaine at her residence in Danville. Bryant learned at some point later that day that multiple kilograms of the cocaine had been taken from McCullough’s residence.

The next day, according to the indictment, Bryant took McCullough to an apartment at 1707 E. Main St. to confront Pepper and Leverenz, whom he believed were involved in taking the drugs from McCullough’s home. The charges contend Bryant brought a gun to the home and used it to shoot the three victims.

Police called to the scene on March 25, 2007, found Pepper shot and bleeding in the middle of East Main Street. A large front window was broken on 1707 E. Main St. where Pepper had thrown himself through. Inside the home, the bodies of McCullough and Leverenz were found.

Bryant has actually been in federal custody since his arrest in Chicago in May 2007. He pleaded guilty two years later to conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine in Vermilion County from October 2003 to March 2007.

He was sentenced in April 2010 to 25 years in federal prison.