Metro-East News

Investigators sought phone records for victim, suspect, judge and stripper

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.

Detectives investigating a Belleville man’s killing asked for a court order to search the dead man’s phone, the suspect’s phone, a St. Clair County judge’s phone and a former stripper’s phone.

The investigators wanted pictures, text messages, contacts, calendars, videos and emails contained in the phone of Carl Z. Silas, who was shot twice in the head in an apartment near Belleville on Dec. 30, according to newly released search warrant documents.

Investigators sought the same information from:

▪  David E. Fields, who has been charged with murder in connection with Silas’ death

▪  Judge Ron Duebbert, who allowed Fields to live at his Powder Mill Road home

▪  Tamara Long, a Belleville woman who worked as a stripper at Hollywood Show Club in Washington Park and is Fields’ former girlfriend and mother of his children.

“Said cellphone would assist in the investigation of first-degree murder by possibly providing information as to who the deceased had communication with, and/or people he was planning on meeting prior to his murder. Additionally, obtaining information as to the identity of his associates and friends could have relevant details in regards to the murder,” Sheriff’s Investigator James Hendricks stated in an application for a search warrant.

On the day of the killing, Long accompanied Fields to the sheriff’s department so he could surrender. Investigators questioned Fields, but according to the search warrant, he declined to speak with detectives and asked for an attorney. Investigators then turned their attention to Long, who has not been charged in connection with the case.

The complaint seeking Long’s information stated Long told police during that interview:

▪  That she had not seen Fields for a couple of months but the night before the killing, he came to her home.

▪  That about 10 p.m. on Dec. 29, Long drove Fields to his cousin’s home in west Belleville.

▪  That after dropping Fields off, she went to her work at the Hollywood Show Club.

▪  When she returned to her house after work at about 5:30 a.m., Fields was there.

▪  Fields is a cousin of Jamie Lott, Silas’ girlfriend.

Detectives tried to verify Long’s statements, but were told that Long was fired two to three weeks earlier. Investigators located Long, who had been released after questioning, at the Motel 6 in Caseyville about 11:30 p.m. Dec. 30. She was taken back to the jail for additional questioning, but she declined to give a statement and asked for a lawyer, the complaint stated.

In a telephone interview Thursday, Long told a reporter that the police were lying. She never saw Fields on Dec. 29, but the next day when she went with him to turn himself in.

“The police are making this stuff up,” Long said. “I didn’t have anything to do with this.”

Long is no longer involved with Fields, she said, and she doesn’t know Duebbert and has never spoken to him.

When asked if the quote could be used in the story, Long responded, “Yes, I am not swearing to it or anything.”

On Jan. 5, Long asked to speak with investigators. She allowed them to search her 2013 Ford Mustang, but not her cellphone because “she was worried about the phone due to a picture she has in the cellphone holding a gun,” the complaint stated.

Detectives searched Long’s home and her 2013 Mustang, but Long said they did not search her other car.

Detectives also sought a search warrant for Silas’ phone, which police found on his chest. Silas was shot while he was in his bed in front of his girlfriend, Lott. The killing occurred around 5 a.m. Dec. 30 at an apartment on West Boulevard.

The apartment’s occupants told police that Fields and another man came into the apartment armed, demanding money and assaulting Lott and another woman who were in the apartment. Witnesses told police that Fields was the shooter with the long gun. The other unknown male was armed with a shotgun.

A court order was also signed for the contents of Duebbert’s cellphone. The complaint stated that Deubbert told investigators that he last communicated with Fields about 8 p.m. Dec. 29 — the night before the killing. The meeting was arranged by a call from Fields, who was on Long’s cellphone. A search of his phone revealed texts were sent by Duebbert’s cellphone to Fields’ cellphone nine times from 8:10 to 10:47 p.m. Fields’ cellphone returned two text messages to Duebbert’s phone, one at 10:34 p.m. and another at 10:47 p.m.

Duebbert has declined to comment.

Fields, 20, lived at Duebbert’s home since his release from prison in October. He registered at Duebbert’s address for the Illinois State Police Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth Registry.

Fields was required to register because of a conviction for aggravated assault. The conviction was part of a deal. In exchange for his guilty plea, Fields agreed to a six-year prison sentence and prosecutors agreed to drop a criminal sexual assault charge. Fields was accused of beating and raping a 17-year-old girl at Belleville East High School. After he was charged, a 14-year-old girl came forward and said Fields raped her, too. Prosecutors issued a juvenile complaint against Fields in that case because he was only 16 at the time.

Fields was 17 and facing the felony and juvenile cases when Duebbert has said he met him in the parking lot of Duebbert’s law practice. Fields was admiring Duebbert’s car, Duebbert has said. A friendship began, and when Fields was released from prison in October, Duebbert allowed him to stay at his home. Duebbert, who is gay, denied there was a romantic relationship between himself and Fields.

Duebbert, a Republican, defeated longtime Democrat and former Chief Judge John Baricevic in the Nov. 8 election. New Chief Judge Andrew Gleeson has removed Duebbert from hearing cases. Gleeson and State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly have filed Judicial Inquiry Board complaints against Duebbert. Kelly alleged Duebbert lied to police, talked to the press about a pending murder investigation and used a racial epithet. Duebbert continues to collect his $194,000 annual salary.

Kelly requested special prosecutors to review evidence regarding a possible charge of obstruction of justice against Duebbert and the murder charge against Fields. Police asked that Duebbert be charged with obstructing justice. Matt Goetten and Charles Zolar, both of the Illinois Appellate Prosecutor’s Office, signed the search warrant requests.

Investigators also sought cellphone contents for Fields, who carried a phone registered to Duebbert. Fields remained in the county jail Thursday in lieu of $2 million bail.

The search warrant application states “there is probable cause to believe that the cellular phone listed above contains evidence of the (killing).”

Beth Hundsdorfer: 618-239-2570, @bhundsdorfer

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