Police: Accused killer’s getaway vehicle was a test drive from Decatur car lot | Crime and Courts

Police: Accused killer’s getaway vehicle was a test drive from Decatur car lot | Crime and Courts

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DECATUR — Darius R. Coffie, after being booked for the gunshot murder of a Decatur woman, was also charged with theft: Police reports say his getaway car was a vehicle from a used car dealership he had taken for a test drive the day after the killing.







Coffie

Coffie


TONY REID


A sworn affidavit from Decatur Police said Coffie had shown up at M&M Motors at 9:30 am Tuesday and said he wanted to go for a spin in a white 2008 Chrysler Sebring LX model priced at $5,988.

Business owner Stephen Connelly is quoted as telling police he knew the 29-year-old Coffie because he had “previously sold two cars to Darius and his wife, Shyann Foster,” in the last 90 days.

Police reports on the murder do not describe Foster, 25, as the wife of Coffie but accuse him of shooting her to death Monday night at a house in the 1300 block of North Walnut Grove. Officers had found her body, hit with multiple gunshots, after responding to reports of gunfire.

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The affidavit on the car theft, signed by Officer Ryan Ricker, said Connelly had become concerned when Coffie did not return with the Chrysler. “Stephen advised he went to the last known address for Darius on (Tuesday) at about 2:30 pm,” said Ricker.

“Stephen advised that he spoke to relatives of Shyann Foster at this address. He advised he was told that Darius was wanted for murdering Shyann and could not be located.”







Chrysler Sebring

The Chrysler Sebring car as shown on the M&M website page. The vehicle is now wrecked and held in a secure police lot.


PROVIDED PHOTO


Police did in fact locate Coffie on Tuesday night in Springfield, where he was tracked down by US Marshals and the Springfield Police Department and arrested after what the police called “a brief chase.”

Connelly told the Herald & Review on Thursday that it was his reporting of the stolen car that helped police find Coffie. He said he normally has to wait to report vehicles stolen on test drives until he is sure they really have been stolen.

“But a woman got murdered and the guy is in my car, I consider that to be extenuating circumstances,” he said. “I called the police and they were there quicker than I could hang up the phone.”

Coffie is now being held in the Macon County Jail with bail set at more than $10 million. He is facing preliminary charges of First Degree murder, theft, and parole violation.

Connelly said his car was wrecked in the police chase and, amazingly, it’s not the first time one of his vehicles has been taken for a test drive by somebody linked to murder.

He described how he had accompanied Clayton L. Anderson, then 25, when he took a Ford Focus off the lot for a test drive in April 2021.







Clayton Anderson

anderson


“He says, ‘I love it, I want to go to Shelbyville to get my money from my grandma,’” recalled Connelly. “I said, ‘Guy, I’m too busy and I can’t be going to Shelbyville, but pull back on the lot and I will have my car lot guy go with you.’ So we pull over to the car lot and, as soon as I shut the door, he takes off.”

Connelly said Anderson stopped to pick up another man and then sped away, followed by the M&M owner himself and several colleagues in a minivan.

He said they called police along the way and chased Anderson to Shelbyville before losing him. Later, his vehicle was found wrecked in a cornfield just outside the tiny town of Clarksburg. It was inside the closet of her Clarksburg home that police would found the body of Anderson’s 72-year-old grandmother, Sherry Hubbartt.

Anderson, who fled in his grandmother’s car with an accomplishment from Decatur and was caught in Las Vegas after a police chase, pleaded guilty to strangling Hubbartt and was sentenced in October to stay in prison until he dies.

Connelly, 63, said two brushes with convicted and accused killers in the space of a year is making him feel somewhat nervous.

“It kind of blows your mind,” he said. “I’ve been in business 30 years, and my wife says maybe now it’s time to turn the key in the door and move on. It never used to be like this here; things in the last decade have just become not very good.”

All preliminary charges are subject to review by the state attorney’s office.

Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid

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