BELLEVILLE – Defense attorney Ryan Neal told St. Clair County jurors in opening arguments on Tuesday that victim Carl Silas was moved after the murder.
In defending suspect David Fields, Neal said an expert would testify that analysis of blood spatter showed Silas was shot on the other side of his room.
Prosecutor Charles Colburn claims Silas was shot in bed.
Neal told jurors to ask themselves questions, such as how a shell casing got under a cover that Silas slept under.
“Why is there impact splatter on the ceiling?” he asked.
Neal told them to ask how the assailant gained entry to the building and how the assailant gained entry to Apartment 10.
Fields allegedly murdered Silas on Dec. 30, 2016, at 2913 West Boulevard.
The mother of Silas’s children, Jamie Lott, identified Fields as the murderer.
So did her cousin Michael Taylor, her mother Latrisha Traylor, and apartment resident Raynard Parker.
Circuit Judge Robert Haida held trial in July, but it ended in mistrial.
The second trial started Monday with a hearing on testimony and evidence in the morning and selection of jurors in the afternoon.
Colburn opened the proceedings on Tuesday by telling jurors Fields was a cousin to Lott and Taylor.
He said they have known him all their lives, and that Fields was over to the apartment and asked Silas for money the day before.
Silas bragged about cash and flashed it on Facebook, Colburn said.
“That cost Carl his life,” he said.
Colburn said Lott woke to gunfire. She will testify that a second Black male who hasn’t been found beat Parker in his room.
According to Colburn, Lott called Fields by name. And while statements of witnesses don’t agree, they agree on identifying Fields.
Neal responded by comparing his case to a Paul Harvey radio show.
He quoted Harvey’s closing line, “And now you know the rest of the story.”
Investigators reached a conclusion with a subpar investigation, he said.
“No money was actually taken from the apartment,” he said.
He named two persons that Lott identified on separate occasions as a second intruder who struck Parker.
“Four witnesses contradict each other and contradict themselves,” he said.
Fields is a distant relative, Neal said, and under oath Traylor said that Fields’ mother was Denise Fields.
“That’s not her first name or her last name,” Neal said.
“It was pitch black outside, no lights inside.”
Neal said the investigator processed the scene in two and a half hours.
No fingerprinting was done, no one tested blood, and it couldn’t even be determined if there was a struggle. Neal added that Parker’s wallet wasn’t dusted for prints.
He said he asked his expert how long it should have taken to process the scene, and the expert said 16 hours.
He told jurors what questions to ask and said, “Physical evidence cannot lie.”
Colburn started his case by playing Lott’s 911 call.
Lott screamed in hysteria for minutes while a dispatcher tried to gain information.
The dispatcher’s constant cries of, “Ma’am, ma’am,” filled the room.
Colburn then called state police technician Virgil Perkins, who said he arrived and found blood on the ceiling and a splintered door.
He said a striker plate was missing from the door.
Colburn showed jurors photographs Perkins took.
Defense counsel Brittany Kimble asked Perkins if he didn’t dust the doorknob, and he said that was correct.
She said there was a lot of blood where Perkins found Silas, and when asked if Perkins tested it, he said no.
She asked if he tested blood in Parker’s room, and he said no; she asked if he went to the second bathroom, and he said he didn’t remember; she asked if there was no footprint where the door was kicked in, and he said no; she asked if he didn’t know if the door looked like it did prior to Dec. 30, 2016, and he said that was correct.
Kimble asked if there was blood on three walls, and Perkins said yes; she asked if there was blood on the floor, and he said yes; she asked if he didn’t know whether blood on a wall in Parker’s room was Parker’s blood, and he said no.
Kimble asked if Silas faced opposite from the headboard, and Perkins said yes; she asked if there were no pillows on the bed, and he said yes.
Kimble asked if Perkins if he performed a blood spatter analysis in 2016, and he said no; she asked if he performed one in 2017, and he said no.
She didn’t ask if he performed one this year, because he did.
He performed it after the mistrial, and Colburn sent it to Kimble on Nov. 21.
On Nov. 27, she moved to exclude it as a violation of discovery rules.
On Dec. 3, Colburn withdrew it.
When Kimble finished questioning Perkins, Colburn asked him if he determined on his own whether to analyze spatter.
Perkins said supervisors don’t ask for it if they think it’s not necessary.
Colburn asked if he wasn’t asked for an analysis, and he said that was correct.
He asked if he got all he needed based on what he was informed of, and he said yes.
Kimble asked Perkins if he documented nothing about the second bedroom where he was, and he said yes.
She asked if he heard a story about what happened, and he said yes.
She asked if his job was to take what was there, and he said yes.
After lunch, Colburn called Chris Fitch of Belleville police.
He said Lott told him “Day Day” killed Silas.
Fitch said Parker told him he was punched or struck in the face with a gun; that Traylor told him she knew the shooter was her nephew.
He said she tried to grab the gun and he pulled it back and cut her hand.
Kimble asked Fitch if Lott told him she saw her mother wrestling over a gun, and he said no.
Kimble asked if Traylor didn’t tell him anything this person said to her, and he said that was correct.
Colburn then called two state police witnesses, fingerprint expert Amy Hart and weapon expert Aaron Horn.
Just as they did in July, Hart said she found no fingerprints and Horn said he didn’t have a murder weapon.
Kimble asked Horn, “Would it have helped to have that weapon?”
He said, “A firearm can help.”