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CHARLESTON -- Matthew Cook admitted Thursday, at least to some extent, that he helped Shawn Adamson look for a man to get back a gun, which led to a confrontation and a woman's death.

Cook testified during Adamson's jury trial and said he "was kind of helping" Adamson look for James Todd Shafer, who hadn't returned a gun he received to use in a robbery.

Cook, 33, was brought to court in jail custody as he was charged this week with allegedly harassing a woman listed as a possible witness in Adamson's trial.

Cook said he didn't understand what he was asked when he testified at Shafer's trial about two weeks ago and denied helping Adamson look for Shafer before the fatal shooting.

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

He isn't accused of actually shooting Faires, and Shafer was found guilty of first-degree murder and other offenses for allegedly firing the shot that did kill her. Instead, Adamson allegedly instigated the incident that led to Faires' death.

He, Cook and Kevin Johnson went to an apartment at 313 S. 21st St., Mattoon, because they knew Shafer was there, at the residence of a friend of his, the trial evidence has indicated.

The prosecution's version of events is that Adamson fired a gun outside the apartment's door and Shafer, who was inside, returned fire.

Faires, who was Shafer's girlfriend, had left the apartment because of a disagreement with the man who lived there but was still outside, according to the evidence. She was hit by one of the two shots Shafer fired, causing fatal injuries, previous testimony has stated.

On Thursday, Cook admitted during questioning by Coles County State's Attorney Brian Bower that he was at the apartment with Adamson and Johnson.

He also acknowledged that he sent a phone text message to Adamson saying he "found Todd" and was "on the way there."

Defense attorney Todd Ringel asked Cook about his testimony at Shafer's trial, when he denied helping Adamson look for Shafer. That led to the "kind of helping" reply and the claim he didn't understand the earlier question.

The newly filed charge against Cook accuses him of communicating to harass a woman because of her possible testimony at the trial.

Also testifying Thursday was Mattoon police officer Adam Jenkins, who's trained in analysis of electronic devices and said he examined Adamson's phone.

In addition to the message from Cook, messages on the phone included one to Brett Magana, who also allegedly received a gun to commit the robbery as Shafer did, also without returning it.

In that message, Adamson told Magana "you must be out of your mind" and to "give it back or there will be no turning back."

The jury also heard testimony about a conversation between Adamson and Adrian Vasquez that reportedly took place three days after Faires died.

Vasquez testified and denied saying much of what Bower quoted from a transcript of his interview with Mattoon police deputy chief Sam Gaines about the conversation.

Vasquez said he didn't know Faires' name at the time or that of Dion Dixon, the person who lived at the apartment where the shooting took place. He also denied telling Gaines that Adamson told him he fired a gun.

"Are you sure that's mine?" Vasquez asked Bower at one point, referring to the transcript. Bower's reply was, "I am, sir."

Gaines then testified and confirmed what Bower asked him about the interview's transcript. That included Vasquez saying that Adamson said "Ciara" was outside "Dion's" when he and the others arrived, as well as his saying he fired a gun.

Also Thursday, a transcript of Shafer's testimony at his own trial was read to the jury.

Circuit Judge Matt Sullivan and the case's attorneys agreed on that taking place based on Shafer's refusal to answer questions when he testified without the jury present on Wednesday.

The jury heard that Shafer said he "knew they were going to be looking for me" after he didn't return the gun and said Cook spotted and chased him at one point.

At Dixon's apartment, he looked outside when he heard a knock on the door, saw Faires and Cook and then someone he couldn't identify with a gun followed by a "flash and pop."

The transcription also contained Shafer's contradicting what he said during an interview with police the day of the shooting and his claim during his trial that he couldn't remember the questioning.

Sullivan told the jury that some testimony is expected Friday (March 9) but the presentation of evidence should end and the jurors will likely be able to deliberate the case.

The charges against Adamson also include conspiracy and attempted armed robbery for allegedly recruiting Cook and Johnson and being armed when he allegedly tried to force Shafer to return the gun.

Cook and Johnson were also charged in connection with the incident and both pleaded guilty to those charges earlier.


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