CHARLESTON -- A man who allegedly helped Shawn D. Adamson with the confrontation that led to Ciara Faires' death and the man convicted of firing the shot that killed were both held in contempt of court Wednesday.

Kevin W. Johnson was taken into custody after refusing to acknowledge his earlier testimony, saying he was defending Adamson for "a murder he did not commit."

And James Todd Shafer, who was convicted last week of killing Faires, also was held in contempt because he said he wouldn't answer questions if he had to testify before the jury at Adamson's trial.

Shafer said he understood Circuit Judge Matt Sullivan's order to answer questions but added that the prosecution "should have thought about that before they took my life away."

Adamson, 35, is on trial on charges of first-degree murder and other offenses in connection with the shooting death of Faires on June 18, 2016.

He, Johnson and Matthew S. Cook went to an apartment at 313 S. 21st St., Mattoon, where Shafer and Faires were, to try to retrieve a gun Shafer received for a robbery, according to trial evidence.

Adamson might have fired a gun outside the apartment, where a friend of Shafer's lived, leading Shafer to return fire from inside, the evidence has shown.

Faires, who was Shafer's girlfriend, had left the apartment because of a disagreement but was still outside at the time and was hit by one of Shafer's shots, causing a fatal injury, the evidence has indicated.

On Wednesday, Johnson, 40, first testified similarly to as he did during Shafer's trial about two weeks ago, acknowledging that he agreed to testify as part of the plea agreement on his own charges.

Related

He said he met Adamson and Cook outside the 21st Street apartment to try to retrieve the gun from Shafer.

But Coles County State's Attorney then asked Johnson why he didn't say, as he did during Shafer's trial, that he saw Adamson point a gun at Faires.

Though he later testified differently, at that point Johnson said his account during Shafer's trial was to protect himself, Adamson and Cook from possible murder charges.

"Todd did not take responsibility for shooting his girlfriend," he said.

Sullivan ordered the jury removed from the courtroom after Johnson refused to stop speaking though there was no question facing him.

When the jury returned, Coles County State's Attorney Brian Bower asked Johnson if his earlier testimony was that Adamson had a gun. Johnson lowered and shook his head and stayed silent until Sullivan ordered him to answer.

"I'm not going to let you sit here and let you give my friend time for a (expletive) murder he did not commit," Johnson then said. "Lock me up, whatever. I'm not going to do that."

After again removing the jury from the room, Sullivan told Johnson he was in contempt of court and ordered him taken into custody.

But following the day's lunch break and a closed-door meeting between Sullivan and the case's attorneys, the jurors returned to see Johnson back on the witness stand.

At that point, Johnson mostly acknowledged what he said during Shafer's trial. That included saying that he heard what he thought was shot from Adamson's gun, leading him and the others to flee the scene.

During defense attorney Todd Ringel's cross examination, Johnson said he took part in the incident to try to help it end peacefully and wasn't under Adamson's orders to be there.

Related

After Johnson's testimony, Sullivan ordered Johnson continued jailed on the contempt finding and said he'd address the issue again after Adamson's trial concluded.

During a recess, Bower wouldn't answer questions about what took place during the meeting between the judge and attorneys and what led to Johnson's return to the witness stand.

Meanwhile, Shafer, 26, acknowledged receiving a form of immunity from the prosecution for his testimony against Adamson.

Still, he repeatedly replied "I'm not answering any more questions" when Assistant State's Attorney Rob Scales asked him about his testimony during his own trial.

He gave the same response when defense attorney Doug Johnson asked him who gave him the gun he received for the robbery.

Shafer and Brett Magana were recruited for the robbery at Adamson's home but another man, Lamont Mimms, drove them to the target's residence and gave them the guns, according to the trial evidence. 

Shafer's questioning took place without the jury in the courtroom to show what he would do if he testified before the jurors. It led to Sullivan's contempt ruling that he also said would be readdressed after the trial.

Wednesday's other witnesses included Mattoon police officer Donald Sweeney, who said guns and gun cases were found during searches of Adamson's residence and that of his mother, both in the 2200 block of Charleston Avenue in Mattoon.

The gun cases included the serial numbers of the guns they were supposed to contain, and one of them was for a .41-caliber long barrel revolver, Sweeney said.

Some witnesses have described seeing Adamson with a gun resembling that type, though Sweeney said the gun matching the case hasn't been recovered.

Related

The trial is scheduled to continue Thursday and is expected to last at least until Friday.

Adamson has been jailed since his arrest four days after the shooting and would face at least 40 years in prison if convicted of first-degree murder.

Outbrain