The Bledsoe County man accused of fatally shooting of a Cumberland County woman, beating a Cumberland County man to death and wounding of two others had his case bound over to action of the grand jury following a preliminary hearing last week.
John Patrick Fields, 47, of Nine Mile Crossroads W., Pikeville, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder in the two separate incidents that occurred in March.
Fields’ appointed attorney, Sam Hudson of the judicial district that includes Pikeville, did not call any witnesses, and Fields did not tell his side of the story during the hearing. Hudson did extensively question the state’s two witnesses: Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Luke Webb and Cumberland County Sheriff’s Deputy Toshia Stone.
Stone was the first witness called by Assistant District Attorney Amanda Worley to testify. Stone remembered being called to a Vandever Rd. address on the night of March 12 on a report of a shooting. She arrived on the scene to find two pickup trucks in the driveway. She was met by Eleashea Alene “Critter” Curry, 42, of Bee Hive Lane, who appeared wounded in the arm and was pleading for help. Curry also said the armed assailant was inside the house.
Stone testified she then found Joseph Manning — covered in blood from wounds to the head and abdomen — pointing to Fields as the shooter.
The deputy testified she then heard Fields tell Manning, “Suck it up, I did shoot you.”
When the house was being cleared after other deputies arrived, Makayla Laray Manning, also known as Kayla Woods, 23, was found lying in a hallway, dead from a gunshot wound to the head. In the rear bedroom was found a woman, later identified as a grandmother of the baby she was holding and Manning’s mother. Neither were injured.
Also found in the rear bedroom, Stone testified, was a “long gun lying on the bed.”
Under questioning from Hudson, Stone testified it took about eight minutes for her to arrive on the scene from the sheriff’s office and that when she, Sheriff’s Investigator David Bowman and another deputy arrived, they confronted Fields who was cursing at no one in particular. He finally laid down and was taken into custody without incident, she added.
Worley then called Webb, who said he was finishing up his investigation of a body found covered up in a burn pit off Critter Creek Rd. when he was diverted to the Vandever Rd. scene.
The body had not been burned, but the victim had been beaten to death. That victim was identified as Lowell Chip Simmons II, 47, of Brewer Rd.
Upon arrival at Vandever Rd., Webb testified he found bullet holes in the front of the residence along with a shell casing. Four shell casings were found inside the house, he said. They came from .22 Magnum bullets and fit with what was found at the scene. The rifle investigators believed used was a bolt action .22 rifle that had to be racked — or reloaded — each time it was fired.
The TBI agent testified that Joseph Manning had been shot three times in the head and once in the abdomen at the Vandever Rd. scene and that Simmons had been beaten to death by hand blows to the head before his body was dumped at the Critter Creek Rd. scene.
Webb testified he questioned Fields that night and — in a long, rambling statement — Fields admitted to the shootings and to beating Simmons. He told investigators Simmons was killed on March 10, two days before the body was discovered and two days before the Vandever Rd. shootings.
He added that Fields later took investigators to where the body was found.
Under cross examination from Hudson, Webb testified he was told Amanda Barber was present during Simmons’ beating. It was nearby resident Anthony Richardson who discovered the body.
Webb testified it was hard to keep Fields focused during questioning, and he said Fields seemed “obsessed with Mandy Barber.” Further investigation, however, led the investigator to conclude that Fields “barely knew her.”
Webb added that Fields believed Simmons had molested Barber, but his investigation led him to conclude this was not true.
Concerning the Vandever shooting, Fields told the agent when he arrived someone was throwing rocks at him so he “just shot.”
General Sessions Court Judge Larry Warner ruled there was enough probable cause evidence to forward the case to further review by the grand jury and set a Sept. 13 date in Criminal Court for Fields to learn if a true bill had been passed and what charges, if any, will go forward.
Fields remains jailed in lieu of bond.