Murder charges for Arizona man in fatal I-72 stabbing

Photo of suspect Joseph M. Coffman, 28, of Fort McDowell, AZ

An Arizona man appeared in Pike County Illinois Court Tuesday morning and was formally charged with first degree murder.

The court found Joseph Coffman, 28, of Fort McDowell, Arizona, to be indigent and assigned him a public defender.

Joseph Coffman is alleged to have stabbed a Petersburg, Illinois man over the weekend.

Investigators believe Joseph Coffman and the victim, 47-year-old Dennis Coffman, of Petersburg, Illinois, were driving from Hannibal to Illinois when the stabbing happened.

The additional charges were issued for Coffman after a review by Pike County State's Attorney Matt Geotten.

A statement from the Pike County State's Attorney's Office says the first degree murder charge is a result of a multi-department effort and acknowledged that Pike County Sheriff Paul Petty, his department, investigators with the Illinois State Police and the Pike County State's Attorney spent much of the last 48 hours investigating the incident which occurred on I-72 near Hull in Pike County, Illinois on July 19. An investigation is ongoing.

"I applaud the efforts and professionalism of all the law enforcement officers involved in this investigation. While there is much work ahead for those departments on this case, their early coordination was critical to the progress to date," Pike County State's AttorneyMatt Goetten said.

Dennis Coffman, 47, was pronounced dead at Hannibal Regional Hospital for injuries received in the altercation.

Officers from the Pike County Sheriffâ??s Department, Adams County Sheriffâ??s Department and the Illinois State Police responded to a call of two male subjects inside of a 2009 Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck that had drifted off the roadway on the east side of I-72 near Exit 1 in Illinois at 12:54 a.m.

Joseph Coffman is in the Pike County Jail and a preliminary hearing has been scheduled for July 29.