‘Squeaky clean’ former deputy given 48 months probation, credit for time served in sentencing for felony batteries

Shaffer with Witham

Cody Shaffer, left, meets with Lauren Withiem, an officer with the Adams County Probation Department, on Thursday after Shaffer was sentenced to 48 months of probation in Adams County Circuit Court. | David Adam

QUINCY — A former deputy with the Brown County Sheriff’s Department, found guilty by an Adams County jury in May of two battery felonies, was sentenced Thursday afternoon to 48 months of probation and no additional jail time.

Cody R. Shaffer, 31, of Loraine was found guilty of aggravated domestic battery by strangulation, a Class 2 felony, punishable for between three and seven years in prison; and aggravated battery of a pregnant person, a Class 3 felony, punishable for between two and five years in prison. However, the jury found Shaffer was not guilty of armed violence, a Class X felony, punishable for between six and 30 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Shaffer and his attorney, Drew Schnack, appeared before Judge Mark Vincent in Adams County Circuit Court. Along with the probation sentence, Vincent sentenced Shaffer to 180 days in the Adams County Jail but gave him credit for 517 days served with GPS monitoring. He also ordered Shaffer to undergo an individual domestic violence evaluation, which the Adams County Probation Department will monitor.

Brittany Abercrombie, who was 36 weeks pregnant when Shaffer committed his crimes in their home in January 2023, said in her victim impact statement that Shaffer has lived for the past year at his home “without any remorse, consequences or any punishment.”

“He has been able to be free to work, go about his life, be with family, get remarried, be at his home, like any other day he would without any fear, without any consequence,” she said. “(Shaffer lives) a complete, carefree life, while I sit looking over my shoulders every single day suffering trying to protect my children.”

Brittany Abercrombie looks at Cody Shaffer while giving her victim impact statement during Thursday’s sentencing hearing for Shaffer. | David Adam

Vincent disagreed with Abercrombie’s statement.

“The appearance is that Mr. Schaefer is able to just go on about his life with no consequences,” Vincent said. “Having observed people on GPS monitoring with the restrictions that I’ve seen in this case, I think that it probably as difficult as sitting in a cell in the (Illinois) Department of Corrections or in a county jail.”

Vincent believed Shaffer’s conduct did not result in “serious harm.”

“I heard the doctor’s testimony. I think that it’s just lucky … that it didn’t result in serious harm,” the judge said.

Judge Mark Vincent | David Adam

Vincent also noted Shaffer had no prior criminal history. Schnack took it a step further, calling him “squeaky clean” (except for the incident with Abercrombie) on multiple occasions. 

“Cody has absolutely no history of violence or domestic violence,” Schnack said. “There aren’t any charges or anything pending against him for using excessive force when he was on the police force. There is no, absolutely no, evidence that he has ever engaged in this type of behavior at all, except for what Miss Abercrombie told us that couldn’t be supported by any evidence at all. 

“No police reports. No family or friends. No hospital records, no missed work. No QUANADA. No OPs (orders of protection). No nothing. She said she had phone records of it, but she couldn’t produce it. She said she had text messages that she couldn’t produce. There is no evidence that this has ever happened in the past or that Cody Shaffer has been a part of any history of domestic violence. The court can rest assured that his record speaks for itself and that he doesn’t need counseling or treatment for domestic violence because he hasn’t engaged in it.”

Schnack argued that a sentence to the Department of Corrections would make it impossible for Shaffer to take care of his children.

“Miss Abercrombie was in court three weeks ago, telling everyone how much she needed child support,” Schnack said. “And she does. They all need child support. Everybody knows that. Cody is able to provide that, but he can’t provide that if he’s in the Department of Corrections. She can’t have it both ways. She can’t come into your courtroom and say, ‘Lock him up,’ and then go into Judge (Christopher) Pratt’s courtroom and ask for child support.”

Abercrombie said she was prepared to marry Shaffer in September 2023, having picked out colors and looking at venues for their wedding. Since the incident in the Loraine home, Abercrombie said she can’t sleep without having nightmares.

“He was the love of my life, the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with,” she said. “Someone who I thought loved me and our children. Someone who was supposed to protect us. He did just the opposite. He broke us. He put his hands on me and my unborn daughter, causing me to go into preterm labor. Beating me, choking me as I begged for my life. That night Cody ruined our lives. He took away my sense of peace. I don’t know that I’ll ever get that back.”

Andrea Shaffer, who married Cody Shaffer three months ago, testified that she has known him since they were kids. They now have a blended family of four children. When Schnack asked Andrea how Cody was around the children, she replied, “I couldn’t imagine anyone else with him. … He’s a great father.”

Ted Tenk, owner of Tenk Brothers Construction, hired Shaffer to work for him many years ago, and he hired him again after he lost his job in law enforcement. 

“He was always a great employee,” Tenk said. “I never had any issue with him. He showed up every day. That’s why we reached out to him after we heard that he had had this problem. We just wanted to see what we could do for him.”

Assistant State’s Attorney Laura Keck | David Adam

Assistant State’s Attorney Laura Keck noted in her argument that Shaffer was determined not to be a good candidate for probation because experts determined he doesn’t have a substance abuse problem, and Shaffer won’t accept responsibility or accountability for his actions.

“The (Adams County) Probation Department says we don’t want him on probation, because what are we going to do with him?” Keck said. “We can’t rehabilitate him. The places he needs to go, they don’t want him. He says he doesn’t want the counseling. The places he was referred to, he declined those services. In this case, rehabilitation won’t happen on probation.”

Cody Shaffer, left, makes his statement of allocution during his sentencing hearing on Thursday afternoon. At right is attorney Drew Schnack. | David Adam

When he made his statement of allocution, Shaffer said he regretted everything that happened that night.

“A 15-minute audio with about six minutes of recording on it of myself looking like the individual I would never want to be,” he said. “So out of 15 minutes and a whole lifetime and career, it’s a hard pill to swallow when I have the state that I’ve stood up for my whole life telling me that I need to go sit a box.”

He said he has “moved on,” and he doesn’t want anything to do with Abercrombie other than to see the child he has yet to meet. 

“She said she’s been through all this trauma. I don’t believe so,” he said. “No more trauma than what I’ve had to deal with.”

Shaffer said he hasn’t been able to take his other children fishing, hunting, four-wheeler rides or kayaking.

“I haven’t been able to teach them to swim like I did with (Abercrombie’s first son with another man),” he said. “I’ve done everything I’ve been asked to do, and I will continue to do everything I’ve been asked to do. I just ask this court today that I be able to provide for my children and my family before I lose anything else, and that I can meet my daughter down the road. I don’t see what putting me in a little box is going to do to help anybody out other than somebody gets gratification that I’m in a box.” 

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