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Samantha Cushing, 22, & unborn baby, July 8, 2019, Shelbyville, Shelby County, Illinois

Updated: Aug 16, 2022

Samantha Cushing, 22, was 6 months pregnant when she was found murdered by a close range shot from a shotgun to the face, in her home. Deven Barger, 24 at the time has since been charged in their murders with first degree murder and intentional homicide, but was not arrested before a multi-count chase through Effingham, Shelby and Christian Counties. During this chase Deven was negligent while having their 3 year old child in the vehicle throughout the chase. Their three-year-old was not injured.

Deven awaits trial in Shelby County on a $5 Million Bond.

At the time of Samantha and her unborn child's murder, Deven was released on parole. If he was not released on parole, Samantha and her child would be alive today. It makes one wonder if parole guidelines should be re-visited for violent offenders against persons. He was on parole at the time of her murder for aggravated assault against a police officer, felony possession of a weapon and aggravated fleeing from police. Some people don't change.

He was paroled at his mother's residence in Effingham County. He reportedly told his mother that he shot Samantha and that it was an accident.

Court Updates Deven Barger was charged with the following:

(1) Murder with intent to kill or injure

(2) Intentional Homicide of an Unborn Child

As of August 2022, the courts continue with their delays.

There is no Trial date yet set.

We will continue to update.


Shelby County: In 2012 he was charged with two Offenses relating to motor vehicles and other vehicles - Felonies. Aiding/Abetting/possession/selling of a stolen vehicle and was also then-sentenced to three years in prison.

Christian County: In 2012 he was also charged with theft to Obtain or exerts unauthorized control over property of the owner, which the state dismissed.

Effingham County: In 2014 he was charged with Criminal Trespass to Vehicles, which was later dismissed as part of a plea.

Christian County: In 2012 he was charged with Resisting a Peace Officer and only spent 6 days in a county jail.

Christian County: In 2017 he was charged with Aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude a peace officer and Unlawful use or possession of weapons by felons or persons in the custody of the Department of Corrections facilities. He was sentenced to four years in prison with 250 days in county jail credit served. He only served 1-1/2 years.

Shelby County: In 2017 was charged with Aggravated Battery to a Peace Officer and received a 3 1/2 year sentence in prison.


Samantha Cushing, 22, of Shelbyville passed away Monday, July 8, 2019. She was born April 3, 1997 in Taylorville, daughter of Douglas W. Cushing & Melissa (McKeig) Cushing.

Samantha graduated from Pana High School in 2015 and worked as a CNA at Heritage Health—Pana.

She is survived by her father & step mother, Doug & Jeannie Cushing, Shelbyville, IL; mother, Melissa Cushing, Pana, IL; daughter, Addison Barger at home; siblings: Levi (Heather) Cushing, Decatur, IL; Savannah Cushing, Shelbyville, IL; Sophia Weitekamp, Peoria, IL; step brother & sisters: Jimmy (Brittany) Congenie, Shelbyville, IL; Samantha Congenie, Shelbyville, IL; Lisa Cunningham, Shelbyville, IL; paternal grandmother, Ruby Cushing, Pana, IL; maternal grandfather, Glenn McKeig, Vallejo, CA; maternal great grandmother, Margarita Martinez, Santa Rosa, CA and aunts & uncles: Don Ritchie, Florida; Clarence (Tammy) Cushing, Herrick, IL; Violet (Jason) Moma, Oconee, IL. She was preceded in death by her maternal grandmother, Gloria Callaway; paternal grandfather, Alfred Cushing and cousin, Frank Temmen.

Funeral services for Samantha will be held on Saturday, July 13, 2019 in McCracken-Dean Funeral Home at 1:00 p.m. with Leon Goff officiating. Visitation will be Saturday from 11:00 a.m. until service time in the funeral home.

Memorials in Samantha’s honor may be made to the Education Fund for Addison, c/o Doug Cushing.

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