St. Clair County Circuit Judge Ron Duebbert went before the grand jury on Friday morning, but it’s unknown what, if anything, he said.
Grand jury proceedings are closed to the public, but Duebbert was interviewed by police earlier this year in connection with the murder of Carl Z. Silas, 28, of Belleville. David E. Fields, Duebbert’s former roommate, faces first-degree murder charges in connection with the fatal shooting of Silas on Dec 30 at a Belleville apartment complex.
Duebbert was in the grand jury room for five minutes with his attorney Dan Fultz, of Springfield.
Before he entered the grand jury room, Duebbert, Fultz and Duebbert’s other attorney, Deedra Brock-Moore, met with Special Prosecutor Dave Neal and David Robinson, deputy director of the Illinois Special Prosecutor’s Office.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
“We were asked to investigate this case as special prosecutors, and the investigation into the case continues,” Neal said.
Fultz and Duebbert declined to say whether Duebbert took the Fifth Amendment.
The Major Case Squad had asked for obstruction of justice charges against Duebbert after Fields was charged with Silas’ murder. State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly asked for a special prosecutor in the case to review a case for filing criminal charges against Duebbert and to handle the prosecution against Fields.
Duebbert was questioned by police after the murder and told them he last communicated with Fields about 8 p.m. on Dec. 29 — the night before the killing. During that call, Fields, who was using his girlfriend’s cell phone, arranged to meet Duebbert. The woman, Tamara Long, is the mother of Fields’ children. She has said she is no longer in a relationship with him.
A search of Duebbert’s phone revealed texts were sent from Duebbert’s cellphone to Fields’ cellphone nine times during a 2½-hour period.
We were asked to investigate this case as special prosecutors, and the investigation into the case continues.
Special Prosecutor Dave Neal
Fields, 21, lived at Duebbert’s Powder Mill Road home after his release from prison in October. As part of his release, Fields was required to register his address. Fields was on parole on an aggravated assault conviction.
In exchange for his guilty plea to aggravated assault, 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 16 at the time.
Silas, 28, was shot in the face during a home invasion and armed robbery in the early morning hours of Dec. 30 as he slept between his infant child and his girlfriend, who is Fields’ cousin. Several occupants of the apartment on West Boulevard said two men burst into the house demanding money and pistol-whipped one of the women who was in the apartment. Fields’ relatives identified him as one of the men.
Duebbert, a Republican, defeated longtime Democrat and former Chief Judge John Baricevic in the Nov. 8 election. Current 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 that Duebbert lied to police, talked to the press about a pending murder investigation and used a racial epithet during a jailhouse recorded conversation with a potential client. Duebbert continues to collect his $194,000 annual judge salary.