Metro-East News

Duebbert taken off cases because of ties to ‘person of interest’ in murder

New St. Clair County Circuit Judge Ron Duebbert sworn in

Ron Duebbert was sworn in on Dec. 5 as a St. Clair County Circuit Judge. Duebbert, a Republican, defeated former Chief Judge John Baricevic, a Democrat, in the Nov. 8 election.
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Ron Duebbert was sworn in on Dec. 5 as a St. Clair County Circuit Judge. Duebbert, a Republican, defeated former Chief Judge John Baricevic, a Democrat, in the Nov. 8 election.

St. Clair County Chief Judge Andrew Gleeson entered an administrative order Tuesday assigning Circuit Judge Ron Duebbert to administrative duties in the wake of a man who once lived with Duebbert being a “person of interest” in a murder investigation.

“… Duebbert, by way of public record, has allegedly harbored a registered violent offender who is on mandatory supervised release, commonly known as parole, and that offender now is a ‘person of interest’ in a murder investigation,” Gleeson wrote.

Duebbert could not be reached for comment about Gleeson’s order.

Duebbert lived with David E. Fields, 20, for a time last year at Duebbert’s home near Belleville. Fields registered at the Illinois State Police Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth site after his release from prison for aggravated battery of a pregnant person.

Fields surrendered at the St. Clair County Jail on Friday morning. The Major Case Squad was called out early Friday in connection with a shooting at 2913 West Blvd. near Belleville. The victim, Carl Z. Silas, 28, was fatally shot. Duebbert said police told him Fields was a “person of interest” in the case. Fields is currently being held on a parole violation.

Duebbert told the BND that police talked with him and other acquaintances of Fields. Duebbert said he told investigators what he knew of Fields, but that he knew absolutely nothing about Silas’ murder.

In response to the Silas case, Gleeson entered Tuesday’s order, removing Duebbert from hearing any court cases.

“The Court is acting thusly to ensure the safety of the general public, it’s right to a fair and impartial jurist, and to protect the integrity of the Court. Until such time as these issues are understood and resolved to the Court’s satisfaction, Ronald R. Duebbert ... is assigned to administrative duties,” Gleeson’s order stated.

Gleeson added that Duebbert was “entitled to his due process rights.”

Duebbert, a Republican, defeated longtime Democrat and former Chief Judge John Baricevic in the Nov. 8 election. He will continue to receive his $185,500 annual salary, but will no longer hear criminal cases.

Gleeson said he had not yet decided where he was assigning Duebbert, who previously handled traffic cases. Gleeson had previously ordered that Duebbert not preside over any felony cases.

Fields was 17 and facing aggravated criminal sexual assault and aggravated battery of a pregnant person charges when the two met on the parking lot of Duebbert’s law office in 2013. Fields was accused of beating and raping a 17-year-old girl at Belleville East High School. Fields and Duebbert struck up a conversation about Duebbert’s car, according to Duebbert.

A friendship began, according to Duebbert, who said he was “being Christian” and trying to help Field’s get his life together. After Fields’ release from prison last year, Duebbert said he offered Fields a place to live. Duebbert, who has openly said he is gay, denied a romantic relationship between himself and Fields.

Videos posted on Facebook depict Fields and Duebbert together. In one video, from May 19, 2015, Fields is seen riding in Duebbert’s Porsche while Duebbert is seen driving. In the video, Fields makes gang references.

In another video, Fields is in the passenger seat of a Porsche with Duebbert is driving. Fields said they are headed toward East St. Louis. He references his Versace pants. At one point, Duebbert revs the engine of the Porsche. Fields calls Duebbert “Dollar Bill.”

“We look like millionaires …” Fields said.

In a third video, again from May 2015, there is a four-door Porsche, a Panamera 4, parked outside the apartment building where Silas was found dead a year and a half later. Fields is seen with other people in the parking lot; Duebbert is not seen in this video.

No one has been charged in connection with Silas’ killing.

George Pawlaczyk: 618-239-2625, @gapawlaczyk; Beth Hundsdorfer: 618-239-2570, @bhundsdorfer

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