Maisha Fields on Wednesday launched debate on a bill aimed at repealing the death penalty in Colorado. She was the first of many witnesses called to speak and she delivered powerful testimony.
Fields told the Senate Judiciary Committee that she is the daughter of state Sen. Rhonda Fields and that she also “bears the burden” of being the sister of Javad Marshall-Fields, whom she explained was gunned down on a street corner with his fiancee, Vivian Wolfe, in 2005. The two men behind the killing now wait on death row for execution.
Robert Ray arranged the murders. Sir Mario Owens was the triggerman. The point of the killing was to prevent Marshall-Fields and Wolfe from testifying against Ray in the 2004 gangland shooting death of Gregory Vann.
“It was seven days before he was set to testify,” Fields said about her brother.
“We were able to get justice – justice for Javad and Vivian. The only punishment that was available at that time — because the defendants were already serving a life sentence — was death,” she said.
“I’m ashamed that we’re here today because I feel as if all the hard work that the 12 jurors have done, the police department, and that the life that my brother and his girlfriend Vivian lived, will be in vain. Have the political courage to say ‘No.’”
“It took six years of trials and testimony to get justice. We got justice,” she said. “It was one of the most difficult times of my life.”
Fields testified in 2013 against a state House bill that would have repealed the death penalty.
At her Facebook page Thursday, Fields first encouraged Coloradans to show up at the hearing for support and then celebrated the defeat of this year’s bill, Senate Bill 95, sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman.
“Today was emotionally overwhelming, however I rejoice in the crown of Glory Gods has given my family in exchange for our tears of sorrow,” she wrote. “That which gives us resounding peace and strength to press towards the MARK!”
Guzman told the Colorado Statesman that she “came to the Legislature to repeal the death penalty.”
“That’s why I wanted to run for the Senate — the main reason. I believe that Colorado can never be its best as long we’re entangled with this [death penalty] statute,” she said. “As a state and community, transformation is what we need, and transformation comes only when there’s opportunity for people to have the time to grow. If you just slap the death penalty onto people, there’s no way to grow, in my opinion. It doesn’t provide closure.”