Trial delayed for matricide charge

Sunday Times Newspapers

SOUTHGATE — The fate of a man charged with stabbing his mother to death will wait several more months to determine if he is found competent to stand trial.

James Alan Shields, 53, stands charged with first-degree murder for allegedly stabbing his 83-year-old mother to death on July 4. Shields was initially arraigned in 26th District Court and ordered to undergo a forensic competency evaluation by District Court Judge James Kandrevas.

According to Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Maria Miller, Shields was declared not competent to stand trial on Nov. 2.

“Shields will remain in custody at the forensic center until he is evaluated to be competent and the judge finds him competent,” Miller said.

Miller said the prosecutor’s office and court will check with the forensic center early in 2013 for a status update.

Shields was taken into custody a day after police found the body of his mother in her home in the 12300 block of Longtin about 8 p.m. on July 4. Public Safety Director Thomas Coombs said that a call reported the woman was at the bottom of a flight of stairs, and the reporting witness said it looked as if she had fallen.

Responding police instead discovered that Irene Shields had been stabbed multiple times.

Shields had no prior history with law enforcement, Coombs said, and there was no record of previous domestic disturbances at the house.

If convicted of first-degree murder Shields faces a penalty of life in prison without possibility of parole.

(James Mitchell can be reached at