Barger at Menard

Deven A. Barger, at January appearance from Menard Illinois State Prison

Deven A. Barger, 25, who is charged with a double homicide, appeared in Shelby County Court on Monday for a pre-trial hearing.

Public defender Brad Rau requested that Barger not be back to court from IDOC custody for pre-trial appearances every 30 days, but rather set dates that are 60 days apart, because of the expected delays in the case.

“I have met with Mr. Barger extensively over the discovery we have received, which is substantial,” Rau said. “We are waiting for more full reports from the Illinois State Police and they are equally mystified as to why we have not received them yet. We expect that they will be substantial and will take time to go over them.”

Rau then asked for a a date longer than 30 days for the next court appearance, suggesting at least 60 days.

Judge Amanda Ade-Harlow consulted with the schedule and was given a suggested date for Barger’s next appearance to be March 4, 2020 at 10 a.m.

Shelby County State’s Attorney Gina Vonderheide requested that the additional time taken be charged to the defendant. Ade-Harlow told Barger that the additional time would be charged to the defendant for the purposes of delay. Ade-Harlow asked if Barger understood.

“Yes, ma’am,” Barger replied.

“Are you agreeable with that?” Judge Harlow asked.

“”Yes”, Barger replied.

Barger appeared in court more tidy than during his first appearance on July 10. That day, Barger was in a striped county detention uniform, unshaven, with hair askew and a sullen, almost defiant, chin-forward, unresponsive expression.

When he arrived in the courtroom for his first appearance, Barger was shackled, nevertheless Ade-Harlow directed the bailiff to put a chair between the defense table and the witness stand, backed up to the rail of the jury box.

“This is for the purpose of order and public safety,” Ade-Harlow said. “I want you to be farther from the public seating.”

When Barger appeared in court on Monday, he was in a clean white prison shirt, black pants and, almost new, white tennis shoes. His hair was cut and his beard, which had grown some, was well-coiffed. He had no extra security than any other IDOC defendant. He was still shackled.

He was quietly conversational and attentive with the public defender and Judge Ade-Harlow.

Barger is charged with the intentional murder of Samantha Cushing, 22, and the intentional homicide of an unborn child. Cushing was six months pregnant at the time of her death.

It is alleged in court records that Cushing died from a close-range shot to the face with a modified 16-gauge shotgun on July 8. Her body was found in the bedroom floor of the house at 112 N. Will St. in Shelbyville. The weapon was recovered from the scene.

Barger and Cushing have a 3-year old daughter together. She allegedly was present at the incident. It is alleged that Barger, whose residence for parole was at his mother’s residence in Watson in Effingham County, told his mother that he shot Cushing. He allegedly told investigators that it was an accident.

Barger was arrested after a high speed chase through three counties with the 3-year-old in the vehicle. Barger surrendered to police without incident in Christian County after a chase through Effingham and Shelby counties, officials said.

There is involvement of police agencies from three counties and two Illinois State Police Districts. The investigation of the alleged crime, six months ago, and the depth of discovery is beginning to delay proceeding to trial, according to Rau.

Barger remains in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections. He was on parole for aggravated assault against a police officer, felony possession of a weapon, and aggravated fleeing from police, when he allegedly shot Cushing in July.

No trial date has been set. Barger will be back in court on March 4 at 10 a.m.

John Curtis can be reached at

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