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Jury begins deliberations in Fields' murder trial

Tuesday, June 29, 2010 | 12:17 p.m. CDT; updated 6:42 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, June 30, 2010

COLUMBIA — After hearing closing arguments from the defense and the prosecution Tuesday morning, a Boone County jury comprised of nine women and three men began deliberations at 11:50 a.m. in Tausha L. Fields' murder trial.

Fields is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the 2004 death of her ex-husband, Mitchell Kemp.

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Fields led Kemp to a property owned by her then-husband, Gregory Morton, who pleaded guilty to shooting Kemp. Morton testified that the murder was Fields' idea and that she helped bury the body.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Fields faces life in prison without parole. Missouri law allows for accomplices in a murder to be charged as if they were the killer.

The jury also has the option of convicting Fields of a lesser charge of second-degree murder if it finds that Kemp's murder was not premeditated. Fields could also be found innocent if the jury believes she acted under coercion by Morton.

Jury selection for the trial began June 21. The jury heard five days of witness testimony from the prosecution and the defense before closing arguments began Tuesday morning.


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