In September 1999, a frantic 911 call from Laverne Fields had the authorities descend on her home in Tyler, Texas. Inside, they found her husband, Calvin Fields, dead from what seemed like a suicide. However, once the police dug in, things didn’t add up, leading to a homicide inquiry. Investigation Discovery’s ‘Reasonable Doubt: Prison Mom’ chronicles the work that went into finding Laverne guilty of her husband’s murder. So, let’s find out what happened then, shall we?
How Did Calvin Fields Die?
Calvin Fields was a Vietnam War veteran living in Tyler at the time of the incident. Everyone described him as a standup guy who was wonderful with loved ones and prioritized his family. He had married Laverne Fields in August 1998, and the couple had been together for a year or so before that. However, the incident that occurred in September 1999 changed their lives forever.
On September 27, 1999, Laverne called 911 to claim that her husband was in bed in a pool of blood. The police rushed to the house to find Calvin lying face up on the bed in the bedroom, with blood oozing out of his nose and mouth. Initially, the death was considered a suicide, with the body being released to the family for embalming. However, the bullet wound was not found at the time. But an entrance wound was later discovered in the back of the head; Calvin died of a 9mm bullet piercing his skull and brain.
Who Killed Calvin Fields?
The authorities believed that the gun was shot from about three to six inches away from Calvin’s head, and the bullet traveled straight in without any deviation. As per the show, experts believed that while someone could shoot themselves that way, it was unlikely because the positioning was awkward. Furthermore, another theory considered was Calvin propping up the gun using a pillow, but the pillows at the crime scene were undisturbed, so it was unlikely that happened.
As a result, the police dug into Calvin’s life and found no indications that he was thinking about killing himself. While he dealt with anxiety and diabetes, he was not considered an alcoholic or an abuser and wasn’t diagnosed with depression. Family members also stated that their conversations with Calvin didn’t indicate anything awry, and he had been making plans for Thanksgiving in addition to contemplating future work options. So, the suspicion then fell on his wife, Laverne.
In her initial statement, Laverne told police that on the morning of the incident, she came home at around 7:15 to 7:30 am after sending her oldest children to school. According to her, Calvin seemed fine during their conversations and only insisted on waking up her youngest son. Laverne then moved the kid to the living room, and as she went to the hallway to make coffee, she heard a noise.
Laverne rushed to the bedroom to find Calvin face down with his head facing the bedroom door. She called 911 and then went to the neighbor for help; a man then assisted in turning Calvin over to perform CPR. The authorities declared Calvin dead at the scene, and they noted that while Laverne had blood on her clothes, she didn’t have any on her nose and mouth. This raised questions regarding her story about CPR.
The authorities also learned that the beneficiary’s name on Calvin’s life insurance policy was changed to Laverne’s name just days before the incident. As per the show, the family was struggling financially, with them being behind on loan payments and having a negative balance in their joint account. Furthermore, Laverne’s ex-husband stated that she thought Calvin was controlling and mentioned killing him in the past.
Where is Laverne Fields Today?
In the end, the prosecution presented a primarily circumstantial case during Laverne’s trial, which started on July 30, 2001. The authorities could not find gunshot residue, fingerprints, or blood evidence that pointed to her as the killer. Nevertheless, the financial motive and Laverne’s inconsistent statements about certain aspects of the case were enough for a jury to find her guilty of first-degree murder in August 2001. She was then sentenced to serve 90 years behind bars. Now 57 years old, Laverne remains incarcerated at the William P. Hobby Unit in Marlin, Texas. She will be eligible for parole in 2031.
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