The Major Case Squad was called to investigate a shooting death that happened early Friday morning in unincorporated St. Clair County east of Belleville, Sheriff Rick Watson said.
A parolee who at one point resided with a St. Clair County judge was in custody Friday in connection with the investigation, according to the judge.
Authorities said the slaying occurred in an apartment complex located at 2913 West Blvd., several blocks south of Carlyle Avenue and Belleville East High School. The St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office was called out to investigate a report of a home invasion and shooting just before 5 a.m. When officers arrived, they discovered one person had been shot.
The St. Clair County Coroner’s Office identified the victim as 28-year-old Carl Z. Silas. Authorities believe someone broke into Silas’ apartment before he was shot. Several other individuals were inside the apartment at the time but were not injured.
Newly-elected St. Clair County Circuit Judge Ron Duebbert said Friday that David E. Fields — a 20-year-old parolee who had been residing with Duebbert until just before the election — was being held in connection with the investigation.
Duebbert said police told him that Fields was being held because Fields is a “person of interest” in the case.
St. Clair County Jail records showed that Fields was being held there. He did not have any new charges filed against him as of Friday afternoon, and he did not have a bond set.
Duebbert said police on Friday talked with him and other acquaintances of Fields.
Duebbert said he told police everything he knows about Fields, but added that he knows “absolutely nothing” about the death of Silas.
Three women seen leaving the apartments Friday said they weren’t there when the shooting happened, but said they knew Silas. One of the women, Jasmine Lott, 22, was carrying two small children out of the building. She said they were Silas’ children, 4-month-old Ivyonna and 2-year-old Gionna.
“I don’t know anything, honestly. Nothing,” Lott said. “These are the victim’s children. We’re going to go somewhere, over to a friend’s house.”
“(Carl) was my sister’s baby daddy, but I call him my brother, though,” she added.
Lott said she used to live in the apartment complex. She said she had not yet talked to police investigating the shooting Friday.
The fatal shooting was considered an ongoing investigation, Watson said. The Major Case Squad said in a news release that 24 investigators were looking into leads in the case. Watson had no other information about the shooting.
Duebbert defeated St. Clair County Chief Judge John Baricevic in the November election.
Fields was convicted in 2013 of aggravated battery of a pregnant person. He was accused of sexually assaulting and battering a 17-year-old at Belleville East High School. He was sentenced to six years in prison.
After his release on parole in October, Fields was required to register on the state’s Violent Offender Registry. He listed his address at Duebbert’s home on Powder Mill Road, near Belleville.
Duebbert has said that he was being Christian and trying to help Fields get his life together. Duebbert has said he did not have a romantic relationship with Fields.
Fields moved out days before Duebbert was sworn in as a judge, Duebbert has said. As of Friday, the Powder Mill address was still listed as Fields’ residence in the Violent Offender Registry.
Fields was 17 when the two met on the parking lot of Duebbert’s law office in 2013. Fields had stopped to look at Duebbert’s car, and the two struck up a conversation.
As a result of the Fields’ living arrangements, Chief Judge Andrew Gleeson recently ordered that Duebbert, who presides in traffic court, would not hear any felony cases.
Anyone with information in the Silas case can call the St Clair County Sheriff’s Department at 618-825-5200 or CrimeStoppers at 866-371-8477.