Man accused of shooting ex-girlfriend is brilliant, but suffers from mental illness, mother says

Mom says courts, mental health system failed son

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. - Christopher Lyle Fields, the man accused of shooting his ex-girlfriend in her car at the Inverness Business Park Wednesday morning, has been repeatedly arrested for stalking his former fiancé who obtained a permanent protection order in June barring Fields from contacting her.

 

The suspect's mother, Joyce Fields, said her 27-year-old son has a brilliant mind but has suffered from bipolar disorder since  age 14. The mother said her strong-willed son refused psychiatric medication or counseling. The family had him placed in a locked treatment facility as teen, but could not legally force him to accept medical care.

Joyce Fields said the criminal justice system has wrongly persecuted her son since he was arrested in September 2011 on a charge of felony stalking involving his former fiancé.

"Thanks to the system, my family has been decimated," the mother said.

The mother said she feared her son had done "a Thelma and Louise" and taken his own life after the early morning shooting, until New Mexico State Police arrested man after stopping his motorcycle near Raton, N.M. on Wednesday afternoon.

The Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office has only identified the woman shot Wednesday as Field's ex-girlfriend. She is being treated for non-life-threatening injuries at a hospital.

However, Fields' 23-year-old former fiancé works at the business park near where the shooting happened.

Joyce Fields said a Douglas County judge has required her son to wear a satellite-tracking ankle bracelet since May because of the stalking case. Court records show Chris Fields has repeatedly faced arrest warrants for failing to comply with court orders in the case.

Joyce Fields said the judge "just refused to take that ankle bracelet off (Chris Fields)…He said my son was a menace to society."

Arapahoe Sheriff's Capt. Larry Etheridge confirmed Chris Fields was wearing a GPS ankle bracelet, but he had removed it near the shooting scene. Investigators recovered the tracking device.

Joyce Fields said the ankle monitoring upset her son and deepened his alienation. Chris Fields, once close with his family, has not spoken with family members since May, the mother said.

Joyce Fields dismissed her son's former fiancé as a "mean girl" and a "dimwit" and said the woman and her family are a "bunch of damn liars" who falsely accused Chris Fields of stalking her.

The mother described her son as super-smart individual who has suffered from mental illness since his youth.

As a teen, Chris Fields would "cut" his own skin, a self-injury that troubled youngsters engage in, the mother said.

When he was about 16 years old, Joyce Fields said she briefly had her son committed to a psychiatric facility so he could be treated for his bipolar disorder. But her son refused medication and counseling and the family could only have him held at a facility for so long.

The mother railed against the legal and bureaucratic obstacles of a mental health system that she said failed to help her son.

"We tried to get a help for all of that," she said. But mental health officials would say, "Joyce, you can't get your son help unless you have his OK or until he's done something. He wouldn't take anything. He doesn't take medicine. He won't even take aspirin," she said.

"I'm sure Chris' idea was whatever was bothering him he was going to fight it himself, because he was a strong person in that believe," the mother said.

Chris, however, continued to excel academically.

He attended George Washington High School in Denver until the 10th grade, but left there because he was constantly bullied for being "different," Joyce Fields said.

At age 19, Chris Fields received an associate degree from Arapahoe Community College.

He then was awarded an academic scholarship to attend Loyola University in New Orleans. He endured Hurricane Katrina while attending school there.

After graduating from college, he taught English in France for two years, his mother said.

In Joyce Fields' view, Chris' life began to unravel during his ill-fated love affair with the woman who was shot Wednesday.

His family tried to tell him to move on. "It was a constant counseling system," the mother said.

But now Chris Fields sits in a New Mexico jail, facing return to Colorado and new charges in the shooting case.

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