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New interview done in quest for new trial in Tausha Fields case

The attorney for a Boone County woman seeking a new trial for her role in a man’s death say he’s taken new steps in her case.

James Schottel, the attorney for Tausha Fields, said he recently recorded an interview with Fields’ trial attorney. The interview will play a part in a hearing set for May 9 and 10 in Columbia that could vacate Fields’ conviction for first-degree murder and give her a new trial.

A Boone County jury convicted Fields in 2010 of killing her ex-boyfriend, Mitchell Kemp. Prosecutors claimed that Fields manipulated her then-boyfriend, Greg Morton, into shooting and killing Kemp in 2004 at their property south of Columbia. The two were arrested four years later.

Schottel said on Friday that Paul Hood, a former Boone County public defender who represented Fields, “admittedly made trial mistakes that were detrimental to Tausha’s case and prevented her from having a fair trial.” Hood now practices in Portland, Oregon.

Schottel was unavailable for an interview with ABC 17 News on Friday. Hood did not return a call seeking comment.

Former Boone County Judge Christine Carpenter rejected Fields’ first attempt at a hearing for post-conviction relief in 2017, finding that the motion was filed too late. The Western District Court of Appeals reversed that decision, saying Schottel’s unexpected medical complications interfered with her ability to file the case in a timely manner.

Kemp’s murder came after months of his feuding with Fields and Morton. Prosecutors said Fields had convinced Morton to shoot Kemp in August 2004 for abusing her. Defense attorneys said Morton pressured Fields into covering up the shooting.

Morton testified against Fields at trial, and pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree murder. He is serving a 19-year prison sentence.

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