CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The first defendant to go to court in connection to a Lyft driver’s murder accepted a plea deal on Tuesday and was subsequently released from custody.
Na’Shown Fenderson, 17 of Champaign, pleaded guilty to a single count of obstruction of justice. In exchange for this plea and testimony against one of his co-defendants, the State’s Attorney’s Office dropped four counts of first-degree murder against Fenderson.
By pleading guilty, Fenderson admitted to throwing onto a house’s roof the gun that was used to kill Kristian Philpotts earlier year. Philpotts, a 29-year-old from Chicago, was driving for Lyft to earn money to attend veterinary school at the University of Illinois. He previously graduated from Illinois State University in 2016.
On Jan. 12, Philpotts picked up Fenderson and two other teenagers to drive them to an address in Urbana. Urbana Police officers said the teens planned to rob him and during the attempt, a gun was fired. The bullet hit Philpotts, causing him to crash his car. He was pronounced dead at the hospital a short time later.
Urbana Police quickly arrested Fenderson and 17-year-old Jahiem Dyer in connection to the murder. A third suspect, 17-year-old Tyjohn Williams, escaped to Georgia, but was caught in March. Prosecutors believe Williams acted alone as the shooter; if convicted, he faces 45 years in prison.
Fenderson was sentenced to 30 months of probation and 180 days in prison. However, he was credited with 264 days served and was released from custody. As part of his plea deal, he is not allowed to have contact with either Dyer or Williams and will continue to work with the State’s Attorney’s office in building their case against Williams.