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Coroner's jury hears details of Decatur woman's murder

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DECATUR — Shyann Foster was just 16 weeks pregnant with her unborn child when she was shot to death in front of her three young children in May

Foster, 25, was also likely in close proximity to her killer when she was killed on May 9 in her home on the 1300 block of North Walnut Grove in Decatur, a coroner’s jury heard on Wednesday.  

The coroner’s inquest into Foster’s death returned a verdict of homicide.

Drunken man charged after beating teenage boy in Macon bar, police report

Testifying at the inquest, Decatur police Detective Benjamin Massey said the coroner’s report suggested a weapon may potentially have been pressed against Foster’s skin when she was killed. 

Darius R. Coffie, 29, was arrested on May 10 and later charged with six alternate murder and homicide counts in the deaths of Foster and her unborn child. He has pled not guilty to all six charges and to a theft charge relating to what prosecutors allege was his getaway vehicle

The coroner’s report showed Foster died from multiple gunshot wounds. 

“Gunshot wounds of the left hand and left forearm show evidence of close-range firing, and (a) gunshot wound on the back of the left side of the head shows evidence of contact-range firing,” said Macon County Coroner Michael E. Day, quoting the report. 

Massey said the coroner’s findings were consistent with what detectives found during their investigation.

Decatur police arrived at Foster’s home on the evening of May 9 and found her located just past the front door, already deceased, Massey said.  

According to Massey’s testimony, Foster’s children apparently witnessed the entire incident and aftermath of her death.   

Massey said police were able to gather a number of other details about the events leading up to Foster's death after questioning the children. 

“(The juvenile witnesses) were able to relay to you the subsequent statement that you just read into record here, that there was an argument underway, the children were present, Mr. Coffie then produced a firearm and discharged it,” Coroner Day asked. 

“Yes,” Massey confirmed. 

The police investigation also found that Foster was not armed and did not take any offensive action against Coffie during the altercation, Massey said.  

The coroner on Wednesday also led inquests into two other Decatur shooting deaths, those of Jailan Taylor and Ernest Durham

Taylor was shot on May 7 near the 1300 block of East William Street. He was taken to Decatur Memorial Hospital but later succumbed to his injuries. 

Durham was fatally shot on April 23 near the 700 block of West Grand Avenue. Also shot during the incident were a 21-year-old Decatur man and a 31-year-old Decatur woman. Both have recovered from their injuries.

The jurors returned with verdicts of homicide in both cases. There have been no arrests made or charges filed in either case. Both investigations are still open and active.   

What you missed this week in notable Decatur and Macon County crimes and court cases

This week's local crime and court updates from Herald and Review.

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A white former Chicago police officer captured on video struggling with a Black woman who was walking her dog along a Lake Michigan beach pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of official misconduct and aggravated battery.

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Chicago police are searching for a driver who ran over and killed an 11-year-old boy who was crossing a street and then drove off.

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Shelby County State’s Attorney Nichole Kroncke has announced that 17 child pornography charges have been filed against Tyler J. Davis, 19, of Decatur, formerly of Shelbyville.

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CHICAGO — Fraudsters stole more than half the money paid out by the state from a special pandemic unemployment fund, pilfering nearly $2 billion in federal money that was supposed to help out-of-work Illinoisans, according to a state audit released Thursday.

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An 11-year-old boy died Thursday morning after he was hit by a vehicle in Lawndale, Chicago police said. The driver of the vehicle that hit the boy fled the scene.

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A Yorkville man has been arrested and charged with murder in the fatal shooting of an Aurora woman who went missing 19 years ago and whose remains were discovered in Kane County in late 2020.

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A suburban Chicago man charged in the drowning deaths of his three young children left a note for his estranged wife saying, "If I can't have them neither can you," prosecutors said Wednesday.

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A suspect has been charged with decapitating a 22-year-old pregnant woman whose body was discovered by her mother last week, the Alton police chief announced with an emotional video.

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A downstate Illinois man was among the 31 suspected white supremacists arrested over the weekend near an Idaho pride event after they were found packed into the back of a U-Haul truck with riot gear.

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Those arrested came from at least 11 states, including Washington, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Illinois, Wyoming, Virginia and Arkansas.

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A Chicago police officer who was shot during an attempted traffic stop last week was released from the hospital on Sunday.

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Three men were wounded, one critically, early Saturday morning in a shooting near the Shedd Aquarium, Chicago police said.

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An Oak Lawn man, apparently frustrated that his 8-week-old daughter would not settle down after giving her a bottle and trying to rock her to sleep, slammed the baby on her back several times against a couch cushion, causing injuries that resulted in her death, according to a court document.

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Newly unsealed search warrants in the Commonwealth Edison bribery probe centered on former House Speaker Michael Madigan provide the greatest detail yet about an alleged behind-the-scenes effort to kill an energy bill supported by Madigan’s daughter Lisa, the then-Illinois attorney general.

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The incident sparked a Civilian Office of Police Accountability investigation, while Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she was "quite disturbed" by the videos.

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A Chicago man was arrested for throwing a Molotov cocktail at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Washington, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday.

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Hearing included statements from three inmates about the control Michael S. Williams used to manipulate their relationships.

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One individual was transported to an area hospital for treatment of their injuries.

 

Contact Taylor Vidmar at (217) 421-6949. Follow her on Twitter: @taylorvidmar11.

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