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Accused cop killer's ex-girlfriend alleges she feared for her safety during burglary spree

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The former girlfriend of Floyd Brown, a man accused of killing a McHenry County deputy in March 2019 as federal marshals were trying to arrest him, will be allowed to use the incident as part of her defense on residential burglary charges, a judge ruled Friday.

Shameka Beard-McAllister, 39, is charged with assisting Brown in two burglaries on Bloomington’s east side in May and June 2018. Brown, 42, traveled from Springfield to Bloomington, Champaign, Decatur and Peoria where he committed multiple break-ins of homes, according to authorities.

Beard-McAllister was allegedly in the car with Floyd during the two local burglaries, making her legally accountable for the crimes, the state said in McLean County charges.

Defense lawyer Stephanie Wong said Beard-McAllister was ordered by Brown to move into the driver’s seat while he entered homes during high-end burglaries in which gold jewelry and other expensive items were taken.

Wong argued that Beard-McAllister was physically and mentally abused by Brown during the couple’s 10-year relationship. The couple share a daughter born in 2008 ,but Beard-McCallister later filed an order of protection against him because she feared his violent behavior.

In a call to Peoria police in April 2018, Beard-McAllister provided information on thefts in that city, but did not name Brown as the perpetrator “out of fear,” according to the defense.

In August 2018, Beard-McAllister again contacted Peoria police, this time identifying Brown. In meetings later with a Bloomington police detective, Beard-McAllister provided information on the disposal of stolen property and assisted police efforts to locate Brown after he eluded police following burglaries in Bloomington.

Beard-McAllister “communicated her past and ongoing fear of Brown” during her cooperation with police, said the defense filing.

Wong said Friday the defense will rely on a legal defense known as “compulsion and necessity” that focuses on a defendant’s reasonable belief that they faced serious harm if they did not cooperate in a criminal activity.

Wong pointed to Brown’s long criminal history and propensity toward violence, including the alleged shooting of a deputy serving with the federal marshal’s task force.

Officers with the U.S. Marshal’s Great Lakes Regional Task Force armed with arrest warrants related to the Bloomington burglaries tracked Brown to a Rockford hotel on March 7, 2019. Gunfire erupted from the hotel room, as Brown began firing at the officers. A woman identified as his girlfriend was shot before he jumped from a third-story balcony. Task force member Jacob Keltner was killed by Brown as the suspect fled the parking lot, according to pending federal and state murder charges.

Brown was stopped after a high-speed police chase that ended outside Lincoln in Logan County.

Judge Casey Costigan said Friday he will allow a jury to hear evidence of the Rockford shooting and Beard-McAllister’s cooperation with police. The judge said he will monitor how the information is used to avoid “a trial within a trial.”

The evidence of ongoing threats and violence by Brown “are highly relevant” to the woman’s claims that she felt compelled to assist Brown in his criminal acts, said Costigan.

A Dec. 1 hearing is scheduled on additional pre-trial motions.

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Edith began her career as a reporter with The DeWitt County Observer, a weekly newspaper in Clinton. From 2007 to June 2019, Edith covered crime and legal issues for The Pantagraph, a daily newspaper in Bloomington, Illinois. She previously worked as a correspondent for The Pantagraph covering courts and local government issues in central Illinois.
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