Son faces trial in mother’s murder

Sunday Times Newspapers

SOUTHGATE — More than a year after his mother was stabbed to death, a Southgate man will stand trial in December after being found competent to understand the charges against him.

James Alan Shields, 54, was taken into custody a day after police found the body of his mother in her home in the 12300 block of Longtin on July 4, 2012. Police responded to a neighbor’s call that reported Irene Shields was at the bottom of a flight of stairs; responding police discovered that she had been stabbed multiple times.

James Shields was arraigned in 26th District Court and ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluations. Shields remained in custody at the forensic center and earlier this year was determined to be capable of participating in his own defense.

Shields was arraigned Sept. 13 before Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Richard Skutt, and a final conference in November has been scheduled before a planned jury trial in January 2014.

According to Southgate Public Safety Director Thomas Coombs, Shields had no prior history with law enforcement and there was no previous domestic disturbances at the house.

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

(James Mitchell can be reached at