Crime

Cousin testifies in Belleville murder trial against judge’s former roommate

David E. Fields’ 17-year-old cousin took the stand Wednesday morning and testified that Fields and another man were in the apartment the night a 28-year-old Belleville man was shot and killed on Dec. 29, 2016.

Fields is accused of breaking into his aunt’s apartment at 2913 West Blvd., near Belleville, ordering people in the apartment to give him money, then killing Silas as he lay in bed.

Fields’ cousin Michael A. Taylor Jr. now lives out of state but testified that he lived with Carl Silas in a Belleville apartment and was there the night Silas was shot and killed.

Taylor testified that on the night Silas was murdered he went to sleep on a couch near the apartment’s front door and woke up to the sound of the door being shoved open. The teenager said he quickly popped up and saw two people — one was wearing a nylon black ski mask and the other was wearing a red bandana with a hood.

“I screamed and the one wearing the ski mask told me to be quiet,” Taylor said, putting his finger to his lips to show how he was told to be quiet.

He said the person wearing the ski mask took him to the kitchen and again told him to be quiet.

“He opened the door to the room where Carl (Silas) was sleeping. I heard three shots and I heard them asking him where the money and drugs were,” Taylor said.

“Then they went to my mom’s room,” Taylor testified.

The man wearing the black ski mask had a long gun that was like a rifle and Taylor said he recognized the man as his cousin, Fields, from his eyes and his voice. Taylor said Fields was giving commands.

Even so, Taylor testified that both men asked Silas where the money and drugs were.

Taylor said his sister, Jamie, screamed hysterically and then his mom came out of her room.

“David hit Jamie with the gun. She started wrestling with David to get the gun. He even hit my mom. (David) threw the gun on his shoulder and walked out of the door,” Taylor testified.

Taylor said Fields took his mother’s purse and told the court that it was no secret that Silas sold marijuana and was known to have cash from his sales in the apartment.

“He didn’t show it off, but people knew he had it,” Taylor said of Silas.

IMG_David-Fields_1_1_CT5O3DLJ_L154281846
David Fields Provided

During cross examination, defense attorney Ryan E. Neal asked Taylor if he remembered talking to an investigator, who Neal referred to as York, on December 30, 2016.

Neal then asked Taylor if he remember telling the investigator that he was awake the night of the shooting and that Taylor said the apartment was dark with only the light from a table lamp in the apartment.

“If the house was dark and he was wearing a black ski mask, how were you able to see his eyes?” Neal asked, reminding Taylor that his original statement was that his cousin, who he called Day-Day, had a short gun, like a pistol .

Neal asked Taylor if he got a different story after he talked to his sister and mother.

“December 30th, you said you heard your mother fighting over the gun with an unknown subject. After you talked to your mother, you arrived at the conclusion that the unknown subject was David. Did all of your testimony come from (your sister and mother)?” Neal asked Taylor on the stand.

Taylor said when he talked to police investigators two hours after the fatal shooting that he was in shock.

And, the next day, Taylor said after he had time to think about it, that he had made errors in his statement.

Asked on the stand again whether his mom and sister told him to say that, Taylor said they did not.

Asked whether he had anyway of knowing whether his first memory was any more correct than his first, Taylor said no.

Neal wanted to know how many times since the incident and prior to Wednesday’s testimony, had he spoken to his mother and sister about the incident. Taylor answered that he had talked to them about it “a few times.”

A woman named Mary Dilley, a supervisor for subpoena compliance with Sprint, was the second witness. She testified about the way Sprint keeps cell phone records and how cell phones are routed from one tower to another.

Four or five witnesses for the prosecution were expected testify Wednesday afternoon.

Fields previously resided with St. Clair County Circuit Judge Ronald Duebbert.

The judge has said that he was “being Christian” and trying to help Fields turn his life around. Duebbert is gay but 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 trial resumed at 1:30 p.m. with Lynn McCloskey, who at the time of the homicide, was a criminal intelligence analyst with Illinois state Police laid out for the jury how she used a particular system to determine the time calls came from Field’s cell and what cell number his calls went to., as well as the dates. But Kimble poked holes in the testimony to show that it wasn’t 100 percent accurate in that cell calls don’t always go to the closet tower, but , many times if goes to the strongest one. c

Raynard Parker, who was in the apartment when the killing happened said he was in the bedroom with his female friend, who was identified as the mother of the victim’s girlfriend and Taylor who led off testifying against his cousin. Parker said he and the woman heard three shots, then he said he wasn’t sure how many shots, but said the gunshots startled him.. Parker said he believes it was about 4:30 a.m when the shooting occurred He said he had just laid down when he heard the gunshots and jumped up to see what was going on. “Two guys were at Jamie’s bedroom. When Jamie’s mother got up from the bed where she was with him, Parker said she ran out of the room and got to tussling with one of the men. as second man with a a red bandana ran in the room with him and hit him in the nose two times, busting his nose. Colburn showed pictures of Parker’s bloody body. He said he could not identify either one of the men who were in the apartment then and even now,Parker said he has never been that terrified before in his life. He told me to lay down. I squatted down and pleaded with him not to kill me. He said Yo Yo, it’s time to go. Asked how the two guys got into the apartment, Parker said “The door was as weak as water” He told Defense attorney Neal that the suspect who struck him left with his wallet, but he later found it in the hallway.. He said he never met David fields “I don’t know who he is to this day,” Parker said. He testified that his attacker had a pocket book when he left. Jamie Lott, also Field’s cousin said she was positive that the man who shot Silas was her cousin. The 26-year old is the mother of Silas’ two children. She pointed out Fields when she was asked to identify the man she said shot Silas She said she recognized him from his eyes and voice. She said, “he’s family. You know your family.” Lott said. She said Fields had come to the apartment the night before the murder, Fields came to the apartment asking Carl for some money. Lott said she went to bed at 2 a.m., after Carl and one of his daughter’s had gone to bed. She put the youngest daughter to bed and then herself.

Lott siad Fields, who she called Day-Day with the long gun. “It was big,” she said. Lott testified that he hit her on the left side of her fae andd in her lip with the butt of the gun.

Brittany Kimble, for the defense team, asked her how she could positivwly identify her client when it was so dark in the room.She said the blue light from the television in her room allowed her to see. There was an opening in the eyes, nose and mouth, she said. Kimble, asked her whether she was upset with Silas the night he was murdered after learning he had another girl pregnant. “No ma’am, We were happy,” Lott responded. Asked by Kimble whether it was true Silas had shot at her mother in 2015 and had also fought her before.

Kimble also asked her why she didn’t tell a police dispatcher nor police investigators about the injuries she said she had . She didn’t tell ambulance workers wither. Lott said her focus was on Silas. She said her daughter had been shaking on her daddy and telling him to get up , but he didn’t move. Lott said the incident happened at 4:30 a.m. but it was about 4:58 a.m when police came to the apartment.

Lott also testified that while her other was tussling her cousin, he coked the gun and started using prone language with her ...Bi___, Bi___, Bi___,” he said, according to Lott. Field sat pretty much motionless at the table staring at the people who came as witnesses for the prosecution. Occasionally he spoke to his attorneys and wrote them notes. The trial resumes today at 9:00 a.m.

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Carolyn P. Smith has worked for the Belleville News-Democrat for 18 years and currently covers breaking news in the Metro-East. She graduated from the Journalism School at the University of Missouri at Columbia and says news is in her DNA.
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