Parolee who lived with judge charged with murder
David E. Fields and an unidentified man burst into an apartment, struck two women, then shot Carl Z. Silas in the face in front of two children, according to police.
Fields, who previously resided with St. Clair County Circuit Judge Ronald Duebbert, was charged late Tuesday with two counts of first-degree murder.
The charges stated that Fields shot Silas in the face while committing or attempting to commit an armed robbery, but Lt. Rob Thomason, Major Case Squad Deputy Commander, declined to comment on what was taken from the apartment at 2913 West Boulevard near Belleville.
The Major Case Squad was activated at 5 a.m. on Friday after a report of a home invasion and shooting. Two armed men, one of them Fields, entered the apartment, which was occupied at the time by Silas, two females and three juveniles, Thomason said. One of the females was struck with the gun, Thomason said. The other was punched, Thomason said.
Jaime Lott, the victim’s fiance, told television stations on Friday that two men wearing hoodies broke into the apartment. Lott said she was struck in the head with a gun. During that television interview, Lott said she begged for her life and Silas was shot in front of his two children. Lott also said her mother, Latisha Traylor, was inside the apartment at the time of the shooting.
The Major Case Squad continues to seek the another man in connection with the shooting. Thomason described him as a “light-skinned black male.” He declined to elaborate.
Fields, who now lists an address at 401 N. 70th St. in East St. Louis, previously listed his address at Duebbert’s home on Powder Mill Road in Belleville. Fields was listed on the Illinois State Police’s Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth list after he was convicted of an assault on a 17-year-old girl in 2013 at Belleville East High School.
In exchange for pleading guilty to aggravated assault on a pregnant person, prosecutors dropped a criminal sexual assault charge against Fields. He was sentenced to six years in prison. After his release, he moved in with Duebbert.
Duebbert could not be reached Wednesday for comment.
Duebbert has said that he was “being Christian” and trying to help Fields turn his life around. Duebbert, who is gay, has said he was not in a romantic relationship with Fields.
Duebbert, a Republican, defeated longtime Democrat and former Chief Judge John Baricevic in the Nov. 8 election. He was sworn in Dec. 6.
St. Clair County Chief Judge Andrew Gleeson signed an order appointing special prosecutor to review the Major Case Squad’s request for charges against Duebbert. The motion stated the offense is “obstructing justice.”
Gleeson removed Duebbert from felony cases after he learned Fields, who was on parole, lived with Duebbert. Duebbert has said Fields moved out before he was sworn in as judge.
“The Court is acting thusly to ensure the safety of the general public, its 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 said Duebbert was “entitled to his due process rights.”
On Tuesday, Gleeson entered an administrative order removing Duebbert from all cases. Deubbert will continue to receive his $185,500 annual salary, but will no longer hear cases until further notice.
Duebbert has said that he and other acquaintances of Fields were questioned by investigators, but that he had absolutely no knowledge regarding Silas’ murder.
Fields was being held Wednesday on $2 million bail.
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 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.
Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department at (618) 277-3505 or Crimestoppers at (866) 371-8477.