Sen. Rhonda Fields on news of possible retrial of son’s killer: “It just shakes my soul.”

Sir Mario Owens, currently sitting on death row for the murders of three people, could end up with a new trial because of alleged juror misconduct — a prospect that “shakes my soul,” Democratic Sen. Rhonda Fields of Aurora, whose son was one of the three murdered, told reporters this afternoon.

According to The Denver Post, a judge issued a warrant on Feb. 14 for juror Stephanie Griggs, who defense attorneys claim committed at least six counts of misconduct in one of Owens’ trials. The alleged misconduct includes lying on her juror questionnaire and being acquainted with witnesses, members of the victims’ families and with Owens’ family.

Owens and an accomplice killed Fields’ son, Javad Marshall-Fields, and his fiancee Vivian Wolfe, in June of 2005 to prevent them from testifying in a separate murder case against Owens.

Owens was sentenced to death in 2008 for their murders and that of a third man, Gregory Vann.  Owens’ accomplice, Robert Ray, is also on death row.

“It just shakes my soul,” Fields told reporters today. “The story should be about the truth,” which, she said, is that “my son was murdered, and there’s facts to support it, DNA to support it. All this other stuff we’re reading about is a distraction.” 

Fields added that the past 12 years since her son’s death have been hard, and that she lives daily with a broken heart. “It’s troublesome to me that we’re trying to answer a question that’s already been answered: guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty.”

To revisit the case again, she said, would be a miscarriage of justice. But should that happen, she said, jurors will come to the same conclusion and results.

“My son was doing the right thing,” in cooperating with the police and supporting the criminal justice system as a witness, Fields said.

Fields became an activist after her son’s murder, and that led her to the state Capitol, where she served six years in the House. In November, she was elected to the state Senate.

“It would be heartbreaking to redo this again. I do not want to go through that experience,” Fields said, explaining that she would again have to hear how someone calculated and then ambushed her son in order to get away with another murder.

Should another trial and conviction take place, Fields made it clear she believes Owens should return to the same place from which he came: death row.


Photo credit: Marianne Goodland

has been a political journalist since 1998. She covered the state capitol for the Silver & Gold Record from 1998 to 2009 and for The Colorado Statesman in 2010-11 and 2013-14. Since 2010 she also has covered the General Assembly for newspapers in northeastern Colorado. She was recognized with awards from the Colorado Press Association for feature writing and informational graphics for her work with the Statesman in 2012.