Former girlfriend of Floyd Brown, a man accused of killing a McHenry County MP when federal marshals tried to arrest him in March 2019, is allowed to use the incident as part of her defense against home burglary allegations, a judge ruled Friday .
Shameka Beard-McAllister, 39, is charged with assisting Brown in two break-ins on Bloomington’s east side in May and June 2018. Brown, 42, traveled from Springfield to Bloomington, Champaign, Decatur and Peoria, where he broke into several homes. according to the authorities.
Beard-McAllister allegedly sat in the car with Floyd during the two local break-ins, bringing them legally accountable for the crimes, McLean County’s state prosecutor said.
Defense attorney Stephanie Wong said Beard-McAllister was instructed by Brown to sit in the driver’s seat while entering homes during high-end break-ins that took away gold jewelry and other expensive items.
Wong argued that Beard-McAllister was abused physically and mentally by Brown during the couple’s 10-year relationship. The couple share a daughter, born in 2008, but Beard-McCallister later filed a protection warrant against him because she feared his violent behavior.
In an April 2018 call to Peoria police, Beard-McAllister gave information about thefts in that town but did not name Brown “out of fear,” the defense said.
In August 2018, Beard-McAllister contacted Peoria Police again, this time identifying Brown. At later meetings with a Bloomington police officer, Beard-McAllister provided information about the disposal of stolen property and assisted police in efforts to locate Brown after he evaded police following burglaries in Bloomington.
Beard-McAllister had “communicated her past and continued fear of Brown,” while working with the police, the defense file said.
Wong said Friday the defense will rely on a legal defense known as “coercion and necessity,” centered on a defendant’s reasoned belief that if he does not cooperate in a criminal activity, he will face serious harm.
Wong referred to Brown’s long criminal history and propensity for violence, including the alleged shooting of a deputy serving on the Federal Marshal’s task force.
Officers from the U.S. Marshal’s Great Lakes Regional Task Force, armed with arrest warrants related to the Bloomington break-ins, tracked Brown to a Rockford hotel on March 7, 2019. Gunshots broke out from the hotel room as Brown began shooting the officers. A woman identified as his girlfriend was shot dead before jumping from a third floor balcony. Task force member Jacob Keltner was killed by Brown when the suspect fled the parking lot pending federal and state murder charges pending.
Brown was stopped after a quick police chase that ended outside of Lincoln in Logan County.
Judge Casey Costigan said Friday he would allow a jury to hear evidence of the Rockford shooting and Beard-McAllister’s collaboration with the police. The judge said he would monitor how the information is used to avoid “going into trial”.
The evidence of ongoing threats and violence by Brown was “very relevant” to the woman’s allegations that she felt compelled to assist Brown in his crimes, Costigan said.
A hearing on further pre-litigation motions is planned for December 1.