Police say he was the gunman who shot 29-year-old Curtis Mosley last June. Both were expected to appear in court Tuesday morning, but Fenn was a no-show.
And Mosley, a key witness in the case, was killed Monday night in a shooting. Fenn's stint in jail started last June, but it ended last week.
A state statute known as "release on recognizance" allowed his release because setting up his trial date took too long. And now the evidence prosecutors hoped would keep him behind bars could be the reason he was released.
"It is very rare that we come upon this situation," said Champaign County State's Attorney Julia Rietz.
But unfortunately for her that's exactly what happened. Nearly eight months ago, shooting suspect Ardis fenn had his bond set at $250,000. Eight days ago, that amount dropped to nothing. Fenn wasn't a free man, but it meant he could go home.
"With regards to this particular situation, this issue really has to do with the time limits that we have to hold somebody in custody pending trial," said Rietz.
The limit is 120 days. If a trial doesn't start within that span, the case is dismissed or you can release the defendant on recognizance. The limit can get an extension, which is what Rietz's team requested as they waited for more evidence.
"We were seeking to have DNA testing done of the gun that was used in the shooting from June of 2012," she said. "It's not uncommon for laboratory testing to take longer than you expect. Frankly in the financial circumstances of the state, the labs are backed up, there's a lot of evidence waiting to be tested and basically you have to wait your turn."
Time on the extension ran out, so Fenn was released to ensure he'd still stand trial. And now a key witness is dead. Mosley, the man injured in June and set to testify morning against Fenn, didn't survive being shot Monday night.
"Obviously it is an issue of concern and we're going to look at our policies and procedures and see if there's anything that we can do to ensure that we don't run into this situation again," said Rietz.
Police have not said if Fenn is a suspect in Mosley's murder, but he's now wanted on $10 million bond for skipping his trial. Rietz says other witnesses involved in the case will be protected because of Mosley's death.
It's possible the trial will continue Thursday as planned, with or without Fenn.