Trial begins for man accused of killing pregnant woman

Photo of Michelle Casady


Devin Donell Fields became enraged when he came home from a dinner date to discover a safe filled with cash, a handgun and crack cocaine had been stolen, his date testified Tuesday as his capital murder trial began.

Fields, 27, has pleaded not guilty to the July 4, 2013 capital murder of Baby Girl Mshae Harrison, 19, who was 21 weeks pregnant when she was killed.

On Tuesday, Breanna Marie Ancira, 21, tearfully told jurors how Fields, her former boyfriend, went to his brother’s house after learning of the burglary and picked up a .45-caliber handgun. She said he pointed it at her and told her to drive to the home of the man he believed had committed the theft — Stephon Finnell, who lived with Harrison, his pregnant girlfriend.

“It was not a drive-by shooting. It was not an accident,” prosecutor Clayton Haden told jurors during opening statements in state District Judge Lorina Rummel’s courtroom. “It was an ambush. It was an execution…When Baby Girl Harrison opened the door, he started blasting.”

Defense attorney Raymond Fuchs declined to offer an opening statement, but will have another chance to do so after the state rests its case.

Ancira testified that she begged Fields not to go to the home, and to talk to Finnell the next day. She said she parked the car, and Fields approached the apartment in the 2300 block of East Houston Street.

“I heard three shots. I froze. I didn’t know what the (expletive) to do,” she said, explaining she was instructed to wait in the car and that Fields came running toward her. “He said, ‘I think I just killed that bitch.’ Baby Girl opened the door and he said ‘before the bitch could even get out my name I started shooting.’”

The details triggered quiet cries from the dozen family members of Harrison who filled the first few rows of the courtroom gallery.

Ancira was arrested and initially charged with capital murder for her role in the slaying, but was later granted immunity in exchange for her testimony against Fields.

In the panic following the shooting, Ancira said she told Fields he was going to prison for what he’d done. He replied that the only way he’d get caught is if she told police. He quoted her a song that said never kill a woman unless she’s a witness.

Two days after the fatal shooting, police received an anonymous tip from a woman who told them Fields shot Harrison. The woman also told police that Fields had taken apart the gun he’d used in the shooting and put it in concrete to try and destroy it.

Fields fled to Houston with Ancira. She told jurors Tuesday that he kept her locked in an apartment and made attempts to marry her so she couldn’t be compelled to testify against him.

He was arrested on a warrant on July 18.

Finnell, 22, was shot and killed two months after his girlfriend, Harrison, in September 2013. He was found dead on a front porch in the 900 block of Canton, bullet wounds to the head and chest, less than a mile from the apartment where Harrison was killed.

Twitter: @MichelleCasady