He Threatened to Kill Me! Woman Recounts Being Choked and Menaced With Gun by Ex-Boyfriend

“He Threatened to Kill Me!” Woman Recounts Being Choked and Menaced With Gun by Ex-Boyfriend

An Adams County jury of six men and six women heard a recording Monday afternoon in which a Loraine woman, who was nine months pregnant at the time, claimed her boyfriend choked her, bit her, put a loaded revolver into her throat, and pointed at her stomach.

The jury trial for Cody R. Shaffer, 31, of Loraine, began Monday in Adams County Circuit Court before Judge Mark Vincent. Shaffer has been charged for:

The Illinois Department of Corrections punishes armed violence as a Class X felony, aggravated domestic battery by strangulation as a Class 2 felony, and aggravated battery of a pregnant person as a Class 3 felony, with prison sentences ranging from two to five years.

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Following jury selection and opening comments, Brittany Abercrombie was the lone witness to testify on Monday afternoon. She stated that she had been dating Shaffer, a deputy with the Brown County Sheriff’s Department and member of the West Central Illinois Task Force, since February 2022. She and her two-year-old kid finally moved into Shaffer’s house in Loraine. She was pregnant with Shaffer’s child and was set to give birth on February 23, 2023.

The majority of Abercrombie’s evidence focused on the night of January 26, 2023 and the early morning of January 27, 2023.

She stated Shaffer left their house between 6:30 and 7 p.m. on Jan. 26 to visit a friend. She stated that he did not return home until midnight or 12:30 a.m. on January 27.

When Shaffer returned home, she stated that she lay on their bed and pretended to be sleeping since she could tell he was upset from the tone of the Snapchats he had given her that night. She claimed Shaffer had been drinking and stumbled into the house, asking where her son was.

“I asked him to please leave (her son) alone, to just go to bed because he had been drinking and I didn’t want my son to see him,” she said. “I just wanted him left alone.”

She claimed Shaffer entered her son’s room and kissed him before returning to their room.

She then remembered Shaffer straddling her in bed and pleading with her to tell him she loved him, all while crying.

He Threatened to Kill Me! Woman Recounts Being Choked and Menaced With Gun by Ex-Boyfriend (1)

“I wanted him to get off me and leave me alone,” Abercrombie explained.

“Did he get off?” Assistant State Attorney Laura Keck inquired.

“No,” Abercrombie responded.

“Did he leave you alone?” Keck asked.

“No,” Abercrombie responded.

She claimed she eventually pulled Shaffer off of her, and the two rolled to the ground. She claims Shaffer then went to a weapons cabinet and pulled out a Ruger.380 pistol he had given her for Christmas.

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“He took it out and brought it over to me, sitting in bed,” Abercrombie explained. “He put it on my lap. He made me load each bullet. He forced me to place one in the chamber, and he informed me that he would prefer his daughter die than ever pay child support or have a child on this earth he would never see again.

“He told me he only wanted me back, and he knew what he was doing. He informed me that he knew what he was giving up that night. He told me that if I didn’t believe he could kill someone, I was mistaken.

Abercrombie then stated that Shaffer held the gun to her head.

“He told me all the different ways of how he would do it,” she continued. “He told me he was too big of a coward to shoot me, that he wanted it to be more personal for me.”

According to Abercrombie, Shaffer placed the rifle beneath her chin before instructing her to close her eyes and take a big breath.

“I placed myself so my son wouldn’t see what my brain (would look) like on the wall,” she stated. “He stated, ‘No one ever gets to open their eyes after that. “I hope you understand that.”

Abercrombie then stated that Shaffer put the gun to her stomach.

“He said he’d rather be dead,” she stated. “All I can do is beg him for his firstborn daughter, for her sake.”

Abercrombie stated that Shaffer’s threats lasted three hours. Shaffer eventually stopped when her kid entered the room and crawled into bed.

“(Shaffer) went to sleep holding him tight like nothing happened,” she stated.

Abercrombie stated that she remained awake with her eyes closed till his alarm went off later that morning.

“With my son laying there, he told me not to make him regret what he didn’t do,” she continued.

She stated that she made breakfast for her son, then lunch and coffee for Shaffer before he departed for work. However, she did not immediately contact the police.

“His exact words were that if my dad or ‘cherries and berries’ (the police) walk through that front door, not only was I done but so are they,” she continued.

Abercrombie stated that when Shaffer left, she waited a half-hour before packing clothes into a duffel bag and driving away with her son. She stated that she stopped in Monmouth to phone her folks. She didn’t call the Quincy Police Department or the Adams County Sheriff’s Department since Shaffer had several acquaintances in both.

Abercrombie stated that she drove to her brother’s home in Manteno and began having contractions. She was eventually checked by physicians at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox. The jury was shown images from the examination, including bruises on Abercrombie’s neck, arms, and knee, as well as a bite mark on her hand. One photo revealed a cut under her chin, which Abercrombie claimed was caused by Shaffer holding the rifle there.

Abercrombie then testified that as soon as she heard Shaffer arrive home that night, she tapped a button on her phone to shoot a video and laid it face down.
The jury next listened to an audio recording that lasted roughly 15 minutes. The majority of the tape began with muted, inaudible sounds or stillness. Abercrombie could be heard repeatedly yelling “Get off me!” as well as “Leave me alone” and “Let go of my neck.”

Shaffer inquired, “Can we get back to our relationship?” together with “Tell me you love me one time.” Near the end of the video, as the two’s argument became more heated, Shaffer repeatedly commanded her to “shut the f**k up and stop.”

Shaffer’s attorney, Drew Schnack, asked Abercrombie if she and Shaffer had exchanged phone calls and Snapchat messages that night. She stated they did, but she eventually blocked Shaffer on Snapchat and wiped his feed, erasing all past communications.

“The only evidence of this argument between you and Cody is what you tell us, correct?” Schnack asked. “There’s nothing in the world to verify it.”

Abercrombie said Illinois State Police troopers urged her to keep Shaffer away from her son.

“I was also told to block his number from my phone and to remove him from my Snapchat so he could not contact me because I was in the hospital,” she recalled. “That’s why everything was blocked.”

“The reason you don’t have any evidence for us is because the Illinois State Police told you to destroy it,” Schnack stated.

Schnack then asked Abercrombie to view Snapchat communications found on Shaffer’s phone. One of her responses was, “I’m really sorry that you feel like all I do is yell at you and I will stay out of your way and I won’t say a word to you.” She later stated that she would not speak with him unless they were discussing their children.

Schnack then read to Abercrombie remarks she made during a hearing on February 22nd, as well as a handwritten statement she supplied detailing what happened on January 26-27. He claimed she never mentioned being scared of Shaffer, that she was bitten, that they had a disagreement, or that she had asked him not to enter her son’s bedroom that night.

“Are you just making it up as you go?” Schnack asked.

The trial will resume at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

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