Witnesses to the murder of Carl Silas, who at first accused David Fields of shooting him, shifted the blame to a stranger four hours later, according to reports of St. Clair County sheriff’s deputies.
Jamie Lott, mother of Silas’s children, switched from crying that cousin “Day Day” (Fields) did it to saying she woke to gunshots and saw an unknown male in her room.
Lott’s mother, Latisha Traylor, switched from saying she struggled with Fields for a long gun to saying she struggled with the unknown male.
The reports show numerous contradictions in initial statements of four witnesses and confusion over the sequence and location of events.
The statements suggest reliable vision, but the events occurred before dawn and no one said that anyone turned on any light.
Fields awaits a murder trial in St. Clair County jail.
After his indictment, state’s attorney Brendan Kelly filed misconduct charges against Circuit Judge Ron Duebbert at the state Judicial Inquiry Board.
Fields spent time in prison and, upon release, briefly stayed at Duebbert’s home prior to Duebbert’s election last fall.
Duebbert appeared before a grand jury for five minutes last month.
Silas died on Dec. 30, in a Belleville apartment.
Two bullets pierced the under side of his chin, passed through his tongue, and struck his brain.
The bullets tracked upward and backward, suggesting that his chin was pointing straight up when he was struck.
Someone called 911.
Jamie Lott, mother of Silas’s children, would tell deputies she called.
Her mother, Latisha Traylor, would tell them she called.
The sheriff’s office dispatched patrol deputy Christopher Fitch.
According to a report Fitch filed later that morning, Med Star emergency team members told him they had a deceased gunshot victim.
He wrote that the team told him another male had facial injuries but refused transportation to a hospital.
Witness Jamie Lott
Fitch approached the apartment and first found Lott.
He had written a ticket charging her with a seat belt violation in 2014, and a ticket charging that she drove on a suspended license in 2015.
He wrote in his report that she cried, “Day Day shot my boyfriend,” and, “He almost shot me and my baby.”
He wrote that he asked her who Day Day was.
“She said David Fields,” Fitch wrote. “He is my cousin.”
He wrote that she stated she was sleeping with Carl and her baby. She stated she was awakened by the sound of a gunshot. She stated she saw a Black male in the doorway of the bedroom, with a black ski mask, holding what appeared to be a shotgun.
“Jamie Lott stated the black male shot her boyfriend, she identified as Carl Silas, in the face while he was sleeping, made some motion with the gun, and said where’s the money, then fired a second shot at Carl Silas,” Fitch wrote.
“Jamie Lott stated the black male then made another motion with the gun and fired a third shot at Silas.”
He wrote that she stated she pleaded with him not to shoot her or her daughter.
“Jamie Lott stated she looked into the shooter’s eyes and knew it was her cousin, David Fields,” he wrote.
He wrote that she stated she called his name. She said, “Don’t do this. We are family.”
Fitch wrote that she stated Fields yelled to the other suspect, “Come on, let’s go.”
Fitch’s report had not previously mentioned another suspect.
“Jamie Lott stated David Fields and the other unknown suspect left in an unknown direction,” he wrote.
He wrote that she stated she didn’t know who the other suspect was.
She identified him as a heavyset black male with some type of handgun.
Fitch wrote that she stated Fields was at her residence the day before, talking to Silas “about doing armed robberies in the area.”
“Jamie Lott stated David Fields was armed with a long gun when he was at the residence,” Fitch wrote.
He wrote that she stated it was the gun he shot Silas with.
Witness Latisha Traylor
Fitch spoke with Traylor, who stated she recognized the voice of the suspect with the long gun as her nephew David Fields.
“Traylor stated she attempted to grab the long gun away from David Fields and they fell to the floor with Traylor cutting her hand on the barrel of the gun,” he wrote.
He wrote that she stated Fields took her purse and fled.
Witness Raynard Parker
Fitch spoke with witness Raynard Parker, who had blood on his face.
He wrote that Parker stated he was sleeping with Traylor in the back bedroom.
He wrote that Parker stated “an unknown male subject with a red bandana covering his face, armed with some type of handgun, either punched him or hit him in the face with the gun saying where’s the money.”
Witness video statements - Lott
Around dawn, on video at the sheriff’s office, Lott told investigator Patrick York she was in bed with Silas and their daughter, age two.
York wrote that she stated her baby was sleeping in a swing next to the bed.
He wrote that she stated she was awakened by three quick shots.
“Lott stated the gunman told her to get off the mother f---ing bed,” York wrote.
“The gunman asked where’s the mother f---ing money, where the drugs.
“David came into her room, pointed a gun at her, and asked her where the mother f---ing money.”
In this account, Fields entered the room after Silas died.
The rest of Lott’s statement focused strictly on Fields, and didn’t account for the actions or location of the other male until he left.
York wrote that Lott stated she knew Fields by his voice and eyes.
He wrote that she stated she started to grab her two year old, and Fields butt stroked her with the gun, which left a rectangular mark and a slight abrasion on her face.
Lott stated Fields forced her out of the bedroom and sent her to the living room floor.
York wrote that she stated she pleaded with Fields not to harm her or her babies.
He wrote that she stated Fields went to her mother’s room and a struggle ensued with the gun.
Lott, by her own account, didn’t seize the moment to rush to Silas and her children.
Instead, she told York, she followed Fields to her mother’s room.
York wrote that she stated she asked Fields, “You going to shoot your aunt?”
He wrote that she stated Fields told the other male “let’s go,” and they left.
“Lott stated she went back to her room and realized Carl was shot and appeared to be dead and her baby was covered in blood,” York wrote.
“Lott stated David was wearing some type of mask,” he wrote.
He wrote that she stated Carl would have given Fields whatever he wanted. She stated, “There was no reason for David to kill him.”
He wrote that she stated she was unaware of any problems between them. She stated the other male was a heavier set black male she had never seen before. She stated both men wore black hoodies and black pants.
Traylor’s video statement
Traylor told investigator Aaron Keeney she heard three shots from the next room.
Keeney wrote that she stated she stepped out of her room and saw an unknown black male and Day Day standing in her daughter’s bedroom.
“Traylor stated the unknown Black male pointed the shotgun at her,” Keeney wrote.
“Traylor stated she grabbed the shotgun and fought with the unknown Black male.”
He wrote that she stated the shotgun ripped a piece of skin from her hand. She stated the unknown male punched her and demanded money. She stated the unknown male followed her to her room where she gave him her purse.
He wrote that she stated Fields wore a bandana covering his mouth.
He wrote that she stated Fields was at her residence the previous day around 2 p.m., speaking to Silas. She stated she felt tension between them.
He wrote that she stated Fields wore the same clothes during the shooting that he wore the previous day. She stated after she gave her purse to the unknown male, she heard Fields say “let’s go.”
Parker’s video statement
Keeney interviewed Parker, who stated he heard three shots. He stated that he and Traylor walked into the hallway.
He wrote that Parker stated he saw two unknown black males with faces covered.
“Parker stated he observed Traylor fighting with one of the unknown Black males in the living room,” Keeney wrote.
He wrote that Parker stated the other male forced him into his room and stood over him on the bed. He stated the male demanded money and cannabis. He stated he gave the male his wallet containing about $25.
He wrote that Parker stated the male punched him on the head and ordered him to lie on the floor in the living room.
He wrote that Parker stated he lay there and watched them leave. He stated he later found his wallet in the apartment.
Investigator York also interviewed Traylor’s son Michael, age 15.
York wrote that Michael stated he slept on the couch every night.
He wrote that Michael stated he was awake when “the door was forced open and two armed Black males came into the residence.”
This account of the first moment ruins the whole narrative for Silas’s mother, Leisa Silas of Greenwood, Miss.
She said last month that her son didn’t sleep deeply, and that he would have awakened as soon as the door opened, by force or not.
According to York, the youth stated that the suspects forced him to the floor.
York wrote that he stated he recognized one of them as Fields.
He wrote that the youth stated the gunman entered Jamie and Carl’s room.
“He heard two gunshots and then the armed subjects yelling give up the money and drugs,” York wrote.
He wrote that the youth stated he heard Lott screaming and begging Fields not to shoot her or her child.
He wrote that Fields was his cousin, and he knew his voice and eyes.
Like his mother and sister, Michael placed the long gun in the stranger’s hands.
“He heard his mother screaming and fighting over the gun with the unknown subject,” York wrote.
He wrote that Michael stated all the people in the house were forced into the living room and ordered to the floor. He stated the men left in an unknown direction. He stated Silas and Fields were together the day before.
He wrote that Michael stated he heard them talking about getting Fields a gun. He stated a neighbor told him Silas and Fields had a disagreement the day before.
He wrote that Michael stated he heard Fields talk to Silas about robbing his neighbor, and Carl refused to allow him.
He wrote that Michael stated he never heard Fields and Silas argue.
Also that morning, pathologist Kamal Sabharwal of St. Louis County examined Silas.
Sabharwal found on the right anterior aspect of the chin an entrance wound seven centimeters by two centimeters, or about three inches by an inch.
He found it 18 centimeters below the crown of the head, about seven inches.
He found on the right underside of the chin an entrance wound 1.3 centimeters by 1.3 centimeters, about half an inch by half an inch.
That means the higher bullet left a wound about eight times as big as the lower one.
Sabharwal found the lower wound 20 centimeters below the crown of the head, or about eight inches.
He found both wounds 1.5 centimeters right of the midline, about half an inch.
In other words, the second shot entered the chin less than an inch below the first and followed the same track.
Strangely, the higher bullet left a wound about eight times as big as the lower one.
Sabharwal found no soot or stippling around the wounds, which he would have found if the shots came from close range.
He wrote that he recovered bullet fragments.
Fields turned himself in later that day.
Circuit Judge Robert Haida has not set trial.
At a status conference on July 21, he said he could accommodate a trial within a year of Fields’s arrest.
He set a status conference Sept. 15.
The other alleged suspect has not been apprehended. In the early stages of the investigation, authorities stated that the murder weapon had not been recovered