Former prison guard denied bail in shootings

Tuesday, July 22nd 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TALIHINA, Okla. (AP) _ A former prison guard who began living in the woods last month was denied bail in the fatal shootings of a Texas couple in the Ouachita National Forest.

Edward Leon Fields, who made his first court appearance Monday in Muskogee federal court, faces a charge of murder on federal land in the deaths of Charles Glenn Chick, 47, and Shirley Elliott Chick, 50.

A motorcyclist found the Chicks, of the Hurst, Texas, on July 11 in the Winding Stair Mountains campground.

They are the first people murdered at a developed campground in the 1.8 million-acre forest, which spreads over Le Flore County and several counties in western Arkansas.

``This reminds us that evil doesn't just live in the city. It comes to the country, too,'' forest spokeswoman C.J. Norvell said.

FBI spokesman Gary Johnson said investigators ``have a pretty good idea'' about a motive for the killings but he declined to elaborate. Johnson said Fields, 36, didn't know the victims.

The case may be presented to a grand jury next week.

According to an FBI agent's affidavit, a woman who lived with Fields until last month said Fields had shown her a .22-caliber rifle and a ``gilly suit,'' which relies on burlap strips woven into material to serve as camouflage.

Fields has been living in the forest's campgrounds since he moved out of her home, the woman told investigators.

In June, while accompanying Fields to a Poteau store, the woman asked why he was buying burlap. He told her, ``You don't want to know,'' the affidavit states.

She said Fields called her last week and said he was going to kill himself, the affidavit states. He later said he had ``done something real bad,'' that he had sneaked up on some people as they sat in a car, then went back and got his gilly suit, came back and watched the couple, the document states.

The FBI went to Fields the Poteau plastics plant where Fields worked and found his pickup truck and a gilly suit lying in the back, officials said.

There is no indication that Fields has been in criminal trouble before, said Jessica Brown, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

The Chicks were avid campers and had been married about 20 years, a friend told the Dallas Morning News. Charles Chick worked for Lockheed-Martin and Shirley Chick was a freelance computer programmer.

The couple went camping about 25 times a year, the friend told the newspaper.

Fields worked for Kenco Plastics Co. in Poteau, a company official confirmed. She wouldn't release other details about Fields' job.

He also is a former correctional officer and prison food-service supervisor. He worked for the state Corrections Department from 1995 to 1999, mostly at the Ouachita Correctional Center at Hodgen.

There is no indication Fields left on bad terms, Corrections spokesman Jerry Massie said.