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CHARLESTON -- A man told police he was afraid he was being attacked for not taking part in a robbery when he ended up shooting and killing his girlfriend at a Mattoon residence on Saturday.

That's according to an account in police records in connection with the arrest of James Todd Shafer, who said he fired shots through a closed door at the residence when he knew the woman was on the other side.

Shafer, 24, of Mattoon was arrested at the scene of the shooting at 313 S. 21st St., where the police records say officers found the shooting victim, Ciara J. Faires, 23, of Charleston. Faires was later pronounced dead at Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center.

Two other suspects, Matthew S. Cook, 31, and Kevin W. Johnson, 38, both of Mattoon, were also arrested in connection with the same incident.

They and another suspect who remains at large are thought to have tried to attack Shafer and another person who was at the residence where the shooting took place, according to police records.

The police accounts are contained in affidavits completed by Mattoon police following the shooting, which Circuit Judge James Glenn reviewed and used to set bond for each of the suspects in custody.

Shafer's bond is set at a level that would require $200,000 to be posted for his release from jail and bond for Cook and Johnson is set at $10,000 each. The three suspects are scheduled for their first court appearances on Monday of next week.

Coles County State's Attorney Brian Bower said a decision on formal charges is pending, but Shafer will likely be charged with first-degree murder and Cook, Johnson and the at-large suspect, Shawn D. Adamson, 33, of Mattoon, will be charged with intimidation, also a felony offense.

Additional charges are also possible against the suspects, police and the state's attorney's office indicated.

According to the police affidavit, Shafer said he was at Adamson's residence on Friday when a man he couldn't identify gave handguns to him and another man to commit an armed robbery.

Shafer said he and the other man later decided against taking part in the robbery but kept the guns. Police identified the other man as Brett M. Magana, 18, of Mattoon, who was arrested for a weapons possession offense later Saturday.

At the South 21st Street residence, according to the police account, Shafer and Faires got into an argument while they were there, causing Faires to leave.

Shortly after that, Shafer said, he answered a knock on the door and saw Faires, Cook and at least one other person outside when he opened it. He said he knew Cook was a friend of Adamson's and he was afraid they were there to attack him for not taking part in the robbery, the records say.

Shafer said he then heard what he thought was a gunshot outside, so he retrieved the gun and fired twice through the door. He said he was confident the angles of the shots, one fired high and one low, meant they wouldn't hit anyone.

However, the later investigation indicated that the lower shot was fired at an angle that could have hit Faires, the records say.

Meanwhile, the records also say Johnson told police he agreed to meet Adamson and Cook at the South 21st Street residence. He said the other men had issues with Shafer and with another man who lived there.

While outside the residence, Johnson said, Adamson pointed a handgun at Faires and Johnson fled after Adamson fired his gun a short time later near the house, the account says.



Dave Fopay is a reporter for the JG-TC who covers Coles County, the local court system, Charleston schools and more.

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