BY CAROLYN P. SMITH
Members of St.Clair County Sheriff's Department prepare to transport double homicide suspect Eric C. Tucker from the East St. Louis Police Department on Monday. - Zia Nizami/BND
A Washington Park teenager was charged Monday with shooting to death a man and woman found in a bed last week in East St. Louis.
Eric C. Tucker, 19, of the 1200 block of North 48th Street in Washington Park, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder. His bail was set at $750,000.
Araybia Moore, 20, of Cahokia and Darnell Turner, 22, of East St. Louis, were found by the homeowner at 1332 Market St. in East St. Louis dead on a day bed on June 14.
Tucker is the suspect who the Major Case Squad initially brought in as a person of interest.
Investigators also located the gun believed to have been used in the homicides.
Both victims were shot in the head.
George D. Mokriakow, deputy commander of the Major Case Squad of Greater St. louis, said Moore was not the intended target.
"She was the victim of being at the wrong place at the wrong time," said Mokriakow, who is a master sergeant with the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department.
Mokriakow declined to discuss a motive for the double homicides.
Investigators with the Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis also located seven firearms that were illegally possessed.
For the last seven days, 20 investigators have followed up on more than 100 leads that came in to the Major Case Squad. Asked how investigators were able to piece together their case and identify the suspect, Mokriakow said, "We collected several items of evidence related to the murder, received crime lab results, cooperation from the public and great police work."
But St. Clair County Sheriff Mearl Justus said it should not have taken this long to identify the suspect and wouldn't have if T-Mobile had been cooperative.
A spokesman from T-Mobile could not be reached for comment Monday.
"It would've been solved sooner if we had cooperation with T-Mobile. They made us get a search warrant and jump through all of the hoops before they would release information," Justus said.
"East St. Louis Capt. Bobby Cole had to use his personal credit card and pay $50 to T-Moble before they released the information," Justus said.
This was not the case with Sprint.
"We didn't have to pay any money. The way Sprint handled business with us is the way business between police investigators and companies we're seeking information from should be handled, especially in a murder investigation," Justus said.
T-Mobile's actions were "disturbing and handicapped the investigation. They should've wanted to help solve the case sooner rather than later and help us to bring closure to the case for the families.," Justus said.
The telephone records played a big part in investigators being able to identify the suspect, Justus confirmed.
Mokriakow said he wants "to thank everyone who cooperated with and helped investigators catch the person who is responsible for the double homicides. The St. Clair County State's Attorney's office was very active in this case from the beginning, which led to the charges against Tucker," Mokriakow said.Contact reporter Carolyn P. Smith at 239-2503.
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