BELLEVILLE – Bloodstains in the room where Carl Silas died show he died directly below the ceiling rather than in bed, expert witness Michael Knox told jurors in the trial of murder suspect David Fields on Dec. 6.
“There’s not any conceivable way for him to be lying in the bed,” Knox said on the fourth day of trial as defense began its case.
He displayed a police photograph showing Silas in bed with a blanket to his waist and said, “At some point his head was in a different position.”
Knox showed a large stain on the ceiling and said it resulted from upward force.
“The heaviest impact of all was on the ceiling,” he said. “That points to an origination near the ceiling.
“It’s not down at the mattress level.”
He said stains on three walls resulted when blood moved from the ceiling in a downward arc, struck the walls, and traveled downward.
“If he had been shot in bed, the blood would have gone to the wall and the closet area,” Knox said.
He testified about other signs that persons moved Silas and his blanket.
He showed a photo and said the blanket was fairly straight across – but he noted that the blood pattern showed it wasn’t like that.
“It was pulled and straightened out,” Knox said.
He showed photos, before and after police removed the blanket, and said a cartridge case of the AK-47 type was not visible until they removed it.
He pointed to a line of blood drips on a yellow sheet and said, “Something that was dripping blood was moving over that sheet.”
“These are small round drops, he said. “They’re not flung off.”
He offered an opinion contradicting prosecution witness Jamie Lott, mother of Silas’s children, who testified that Fields shot Silas while their baby slept on his chest.
Knox said blood on the child was all by transfer, not impact spatter.
“What’s on her would have to correspond to what’s on him,” he said.
The child touched blood as she was moved through it, he said.
Knox showed a photo and pointed to what he called a line of demarcation. He said when saturation pools, there’s no hard line unless something blocks it.
He pointed and said, “Blood flowed up to it, stopped, and made that line.”
He said there was no corresponding saturation on the yellow sheet.
On another photo, he pointed to what he called a void in the ceiling pattern.
“Something was in the way that blocked that spatter from reaching that location,” Knox said.
Defense counsel Ryan Neal asked Knox what created the void.
Knox said it could have been Silas’s head.
Pointing at another photo, he said the thickest blood was at Silas’s elbow.
“An object can act as a dam but here you have blood where you have no injury,” he said.
Neal asked about stains on another photo and Knox called them unknown.
“We don’t have good quality photographs,” Knox said. “Normally you would fill a camera frame with that pattern.”
Neal asked if there were areas that weren’t photographed.
“I don’t see full coverage of the entire floor,” he said.
On cross examination, prosecutor Charles Colburn asked Knox if a shot or shots moved Silas’s head.
Knox said his head didn’t move.
Colburn repeated his words as a question.
Knox said, “I can show you video after video for people I’ve trained. The head doesn’t move.”
Then a startling and mysterious event occurred.
Defendant David Fields called to the stand David Fields Jr., his father, who entered in custody wearing an orange uniform from St. Clair County jail.
Neal’s colleague Brittany Kimble asked how many children he had, and he said five.
Kimble asked if he was related to Latrisha Traylor, Lott’s mother, who also had been at the apartment when Silas was shot, and he said yes. She asked if they had a close relationship, and he said no.
She asked him details on his record, and he indicated he went to prison in 2007 when his son, the defendant, was nine. He got out in 2016, but is back in prison now.
When asked if he ever took David to Traylor’s house, he said no. He said his son did not hang out with Lott, and did not go on play dates as a child.
She asked if he had a cell phone in 2016, and he said yes. She asked if he used it to call David, and he said no.
She asked how he got in touch with David, and he said he called his baby mama, whom he identified as Tamara (Long).
Kimble paused and spoke to her client, apparently asking if there was anything he wanted to ask the witness.
She told Circuit Judge Robert Haida she had nothing further, and the day ended.
A day earlier, Haida told jurors they might finish on Monday, Dec. 10.
Silas died on Dec. 30, 2016, in a West Boulevard apartment.
Fields turned himself in at county jail that day after being identified as a suspect.
This July, a trial ended in mistrial.