Seven months after the arrest of murder suspect David Fields, court proceedings still haven’t started.
St. Clair County Circuit Judge Robert Haida, who has continued the case every time it has come before him, continued it again on July 21.
Fields’ defense counsel Brittany Kimble of Maywood said her client was not asserting speedy trial.
“I’m comfortable with getting together September 15,” Haida said. “There’s ongoing discovery so it’s premature to set trial right now.”
He said he could accommodate a trial within a year of Fields’s arrest.
Fields allegedly shot Carl Silas dead before dawn on Dec. 30, while Silas slept in a Belleville apartment.
A case against Fields became sensationalized due to a connection he had with St. Clair County Circuit Judge Ronald Duebbert.
Last fall, while Duebbert ran for circuit judge, Fields completed a prison sentence for domestic battery and briefly stayed at Duebbert’s home.
Duebbert had only served about one month as a judge before he was reassigned to administrative duties on Jan. 3. He was reassigned by Chief Judge Andrew Gleeson who had stated the move was due to Duebbert’s connection to Fields, 20.
The state’s judicial inquiry board (JIB) and a St. Clair County grand jury opened investigations into Duebbert’s conduct around the time of the murder.
On Jan. 4, Gleeson approved a request for the appointment of a special prosecutor to decide whether Duebbert should be charged with obstruction of justice related to the Silas murder case.
Potential obstruction of justice charges were outlined in a letter St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly sent to the Judicial Inquiry Board on Jan. 7.
Neither investigation - the grand jury, which on July 14 heard matters involving Duebbert - nor the JIB case has resulted in the filing of charges against Duebbert.
Leisa Silas of Greenwood, Miss., mother of the murder victim, said she has not been satisfied with the pace of the investigation or level of communication she is entitled to receive from prosecutors.
Under Illinois victims’ right law, Silas qualifies as victim. In January she signed paperwork asserting her rights to communication and timely disposition of the case.
She said special prosecutor Matthew Goetten did reach out to her following last Friday’s hearing, but that prior to that date she “wasn’t hearing anything. I used to have to call him.”
Silas said she has read statements made by witnesses who had been at the scene - compiled in a sheriff’s report - and that they don’t make “any sense.”
She said her son was a light sleeper and if there had been a break-in at the apartment, he would have been awoken and not shot in his sleep as stated by witnesses. Silas said she believes suspects were allowed into the apartment.
“I don’t think any of it makes sense,” she said.
“I think they (witnesses) are all involved. I think they know what happened and that is what I have believed from the start.”
She said her son’s death will not go in vain and that she will not stop until the truth is known. She stated that she believes Fields is responsible, but added that “it is more than David Fields.”
She questioned why a second suspect identified as “light skinned” has not been apprehended and why the murder weapon has not been recovered.
Investigative reports of the incident indicate that around 4:30 a.m., Fields and another man broke into the apartment that Silas shared with Jamie Lott, mother of his infant son.
Investigators said Fields shot Silas and the other man struck Lott with a gun.
Officers arrested Fields that day. They never arrested the other man, who they described only as light skinned.