‘You have so many supporters,’ judge’s friend tells murder suspect
The first-degree murder trial against David E. Fields has concluded, and the jury will begin deliberating Monday morning.
On Friday, defense attorneys attempted to discredit the prosecution’s star witness, Jamie Lott, the mother of murder victim Carl Silas’ two children.
Defense Attorney Brittany Kimble brought police investigators, a private investigator, and Fields’ mother to the witness stand. Fields’ mother said she doesn’t know Lott or her people. She said her son didn’t frequent Lott’s apartment and he didn’t have a cell phone number in 2016.
St. Clair County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Toth said when he interviewed Lott she was not hysterical and crying. He said their conversation was normal.
On Thursday, the defense brought up a blood stain expert who is also a gun expert and Fields’ incarcerated father to testify in the case of Carl Silas’ death on Dec. 29, 2016, in a Belleville apartment.
Defense attorneys brought Michael Knox up to the stand Thursday afternoon. He is an expert in firearms, ballistics, shooting incidents, bloodstain pattern analysis and reconstructing crime scenes.
He testified about the various blood spatter patterns found in the bedroom where Silas was shot.
Knox pointed out blood drippings, blood spatter, the directions of the spatter on the walls, ceiling in, Silas’s body and the bedsheets where his body was found laying.
Knox told jurors based on the evidence he believes Silas was not shot lying in the bed where he was found. He said the two bullets that went into him enter under his chin, indicating the shots were fired from an angle higher than his mattress.
“It is highly improbable Silas was shot in bed. The line of force would have to line up,” Knox said. “If he was lying down the blood would have to be going down the wall toward the closet and not toward the ceiling.”
He said the rifle would have had to be beneath Silas, Knox told jurors.
In Lott’s testimony, she said her daughter was lying on Silas’ chest when he went to sleep.
Neal probed Knox about the blood patterns found on the child.
“If the child was lying on the chest of the victim, the child would have blood spatter from the chest down. There was no blood spatter on her back down the right side, Knox said. “That‘s all transfer blood. She was put in contact with the blood. If she was laying on her back on Silas’ chest, blood should’ve been down her back.”
Knox said autopsy pictures show he was shot in the lower face area. The direction of the shot is behind the chin and upward to the top of the head, Knox said.
“The bullets were found in Mr. Silas’ head. They went from the under the right chin up to the left upper side of his head,” Knox said.
Knox also pointed out that there was a pistol in a basket in the bedroom where Silas’ body was found. It had an extended magnum and was covered by a blanket.
In cross examination, Charles Colburn, the special prosecutor on the case, argued that Knox didn’t know whether Silas’ head moved after he was shot. Knox said a gunshot hit does not make the head move.
Colburn also asked him how much he was being paid to testify for the defense. Knox said he was unaware of the charge and said his normal fee, with some exceptions, is $350 an hour.
The prosecutor went to several photos that Knox had pointed out blood spatter on and asked him to identify blood spatter in the areas he pointed to and Knox said there was none.
Colburn said he didn’t photograph the entire room. Knox said he provided an analysis of what he was able to discern from the evidence he had.
The final witness called by the defense Thursday afternoon was Fields’s father, David Fields Jr.
The man entered the courtroom in an orange jail jumpsuit and defense attorney Brittany Kimble said she brought him there to rebut Lott’s testimony that she knew Fields and his family very well.
David Fields Jr. said Lott’s mother was his mother’s half sister and there was no close relationship with the two in their adult years. He said his son did not frequent the house where Lott and her mother lived.
The elder Fields went to prison in 2007 when his son was nine, but prior to that he helped raise him. Fields was released in 2016, but is currently back in jail in connection to an offense that was not discussed Thursday in court.
The trial resumed Friday morning at 9 a.m.
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.