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May 19, 2024
Decatur shooting: Dreylynn M. O’Neal, a 20-year-old man from Decatur, Illinois, has been found guilty of first-degree murder and attempted murder in connection with a drive-by shooting that claimed the life of 17-year-old Demeshiona Fonville and injured another 17-year-old, Diondress Bond-Washington.
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Decatur shooting: Dreylynn M. O’Neal, a 20-year-old man from Decatur, Illinois, has been found guilty of first-degree murder and attempted murder in connection with a drive-by shooting that claimed the life of 17-year-old Demeshiona Fonville and injured another 17-year-old, Diondress Bond-Washington.

May 16, 2024
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Dreylynn M. O’Neal, a 20-year-old man from Decatur, Illinois, has been found guilty of first-degree murder and attempted murder in connection with a drive-by shooting that claimed the life of 17-year-old Demeshiona Fonville and injured another 17-year-old, Diondress Bond-Washington.

On September 19, 2021, a senseless act of violence shook the community of Decatur, leaving two young lives forever changed. O’Neal, a known member of the Jumpout Gang, was among those arrested and charged in connection with the shooting. Despite denying involvement, a jury has found him guilty of the heinous crimes.

The events of that fateful day are a stark reminder of the devastating consequences of gang violence. According to sworn affidavits, O’Neal and his accomplices, Quantarius S. Beasley and Bryan C. McGee, were picked up by Celeste S. Bowman and a 16-year-old minor and driven to several locations before arriving at East Walnut Street. There, the passenger side window was rolled down, and shots were fired, striking Fonville and Bond-Washington.

The investigation revealed that the suspects had been seeking revenge against the East Side Gang, and O’Neal was identified as one of the shooters. Despite his denials, the evidence pointed to his involvement, and the jury has held him accountable.

Fonville’s family and friends are still reeling from the loss of their loved one, remembering her as a bright and promising young life cut short by senseless violence. Bond-Washington, who survived the shooting, continues to grapple with the physical and emotional scars of that day.

O’Neal’s conviction brings a measure of justice to the victims and their families, but it does not bring back what was lost. His actions have left a community scarred and a family grieving. As he faces sentencing on July 2, may we remember the devastating consequences of violence and the importance of seeking peace and unity in our communities.

Tributes and condolences have poured in from those who knew Fonville, remembering her for her kind and gentle spirit. Her family and friends will deeply miss her, but they take comfort in the memories they shared with her and the knowledge that her legacy will continue to inspire and motivate others.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Demeshiona Fonville Memorial Fund, which will provide support to families affected by similar tragedies and promote peace and unity in the community.

Rest in peace, dear Demeshiona. Your light will continue to shine brightly in our hearts, illuminating our lives with love and warmth, now and always.

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