COLUMBIA — Rodney Dewayne Barrentine trusted Tausha L. Fields when they first met. Less than a year later, he believed his girlfriend had been involved in a murder.
Fields, 34, is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of her ex-husband Mitchell Wayne Kemp.
Gregory W. Morton, whom Fields was also previously married to, has confessed to shooting Kemp on Aug. 24, 2004, but said Fields tricked him into it.
The prosecution and defense agreed that Fields lured Kemp to the property she shared with Morton and helped him bury the body, but they continued their debate Thursday about whether killing Kemp was her idea.
The state called Barrentine, 29, to the stand. Fields had a relationship and lived with Barrentine in Marianna, Fla., from June 2007 to January 2008. Barrentine said he knew Fields and her daughter by the last name “Morton” but started to question that when Fields received mail addressed to several last names.
Barrentine said he thought Fields had only one daughter but later learned she also had two sons. He said Fields told him she had married a Joe — not Gregory — Morton. He said he snooped through Fields’ photographs and documents and found a Gregory Morton mentioned on the title to her car. He also found a birth certificate for Fields' daughter, Lexie, with the last name of Kemp.
Soon after these discoveries Barrentine said he met with Keith Jones, another of Fields’ ex-boyfriends, who knows both Fields and Morton. Jones testified earlier Thursday that both Morton and Fields told him about Kemp’s murder.
Jones said he did not recall telling Barrentine specifically about Morton.
“Keith said she was involved in the murder of one of her exes,” Barrentine said.
Boone County Assistant Prosecutor Richard Hicks wanted to know if Barrentine had ever approached Fields and asked her where Kemp was.
“She said, ‘I don’t know. He was a f---ing crackhead. He’s probably in a ditch somewhere,’” Barrentine said.
Barrentine said he investigated Fields further after they broke up.
He logged into Fields’ MySpace account and communicated with Mischelle Kemp, Mitchell Kemp’s sister-in-law. She confirmed that they had communicated.
Mischelle Kemp told the jury that she and Fields “were like best friends,” when Fields was still married to Mitchell Kemp. She said Fields talked about being raped by her own father.
“I felt so sorry because how could someone say something so awful that couldn’t be true?” Mischelle Kemp said.
Defense attorney Paul Hood asked Mischelle Kemp if she knew Fields’ stories were false. She said she did not.
Earlier in the day, Jones testified what Fields admitted to him regarding the murder.
"She told me that when Greg shot him, Mitch was on the ground, he was blowing blood bubbles, she stood over him and spit on his face," Jones said.
Detective David Wilson with the Boone County Sheriff's Department was the last witness to take the stand Thursday. Wilson provided a video of his May 20, 2008, interview with Fields, who repeatedly told him, “I have nothing to hide.”
“Do I make mistakes?" Fields said. "I do. I don't always make the best decisions. But I have nothing to hide in my life. When they pulled up there tonight, not one time did I think they were there for me. My mind is blown right now.”
After watching the video for an hour and a half, the court ended for the day. The trial will resume at 8:30 a.m. Friday.
The trial is expected to last until next week.
Missourian reporter Elisa Essner contributed to this report.