Mother and son charged in O’Fallon kidnapping. Judge calls case ‘absolutely atrocious’

A St. Clair County judge on Thursday described the case as “absolutely atrocious.”

A 58-year-old Belleville man was allegedly shot in the back while being held in the darkened basement of an O’Fallon home, his arms and legs bound by wire and mouth sealed by tape. He was there for 12 hours before being dropped off at a local hospital.

At one point, the victim tried to escape and was told that he “broke the rules” and that he would be killed, according to St. Clair County Assistant State’s Attorney Levi Carwile, who spoke during a detention hearing for Evangela L. Randle, 44, of O’Fallon.

Also charged is Randle’s son, Tevion K. Wright, 23, of O’Fallon, who waived his right to a detention hearing. Both will be held at the county jail until their trials on a range of felony charges, as ordered by Associate Judge Sara L. Rice.

Randle is charged with robbery, kidnapping and unlawful restraint. Wright is charged with aggravated kidnapping/discharge of a firearm, armed robbery/discharge of a firearm, aggravated battery/discharge of a firearm and aggravated unlawful restraint.

O’Fallon police have said the victim is expected to recover from his gunshot wound and that everyone involved knew each other.

As she announced her order, Rice noted this was one of worst cases she has dealt with since the state began detention hearings on Sept. 18.

Randle and the victim had been living together, according to St. Clair County Assistant Public Defender Tom Philo, who asked that Randle be released until her trial.

He said Randle may present a “self-defense” case and said there was a struggle before the victim was shot. Philo described Randle as a “normal citizen” who works at a fast-food restaurant. If she were to be released from the jail pending her trial, she did not have plans to “hunt down” the victim, Philo said.

Randle was arrested at a hotel after police began their investigation. The victim’s property, including his cellphone, was recovered during a search.

Carwile said the defendant’s asked the victim for his PIN numbers for his bank account cards.

When Carwile told the judge that money had been taken from the victim’s bank account, Randle said, “That’s not true.”

Rice quickly indicated to Randle she was not to speak out of turn. Later in the hearing, Rice again had to tell Randle to “calm down.”

The incident began on Friday, Jan. 12 when the victim was lured as part of a robbery scheme from his Belleville home to a home in the 100 block of Brookside Drive in O’Fallon, the charges allege. The victim was led to the home’s basement and was told that the power was out so the lights did not work.

The victim was taken in a private vehicle to Memorial Hospital East in Shiloh and O’Fallon police were called to the emergency room at 4:07 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 13.

Charging documents allege Wright shot the victim with a Taurus handgun. A credit card and a debit card were stolen from the victim, according to the charging documents.

Carwile told Rice that $500 to $600 was taken from the victim’s bank account.

A third person also was charged in the case. Charles E. Jackson, 55, of St. Louis faces obstruction of justice and unlawful restraint charges.

As part of the state’s revamped criminal justice system that ended cash bail on Sept. 18, judges now conduct detention hearings to determine whether someone should remain in jail until their trial on serious charges.