Son faces trial for murder of mother

Sunday Times Newspapers

SOUTHGATE — The trial of a man accused of stabbing his mother to death last year is scheduled to begin in January.

Pre-trial examinations continued this month for James Alan Shields, 54, who earlier this year had been declared competent to understand the charges against him.

According to Wayne County Circuit Court records, the examination that began on Dec. 16 will continue Friday before a scheduled Jan. 27 jury trial.

Police and prosecutors said Shields stabbed his mother in her house in the 12300 block of Longtin on July 4, 2012. A neighbor called 911 after finding Irene Shields at the bottom of a flight of stairs. She had been stabbed multiple times.

Alan Shields was taken into custody the next day and was arraigned in 26th District Court on charges that included first-degree murder, punishable by life in prison without possibility of parole. He was sent for psychiatric evaluations and earlier this year was determined able to participate in his own defense.

Southgate Public Safety Director Thomas Coombs said Alan Shields had no prior history with law enforcement and that police had not previously responded to any domestic disturbance calls from Irene Shields’ house.

(James Mitchell can be reached at