DUBOIS – A DuBois man accused of the early-morning stabbing death of his girlfriend Sept. 22 at their residence had all charges held for court following a preliminary hearing Thursday afternoon at Magisterial District Judge Pat Ford’s office.
Joseph Robert Fields, 35, of DuBois has been charged by DuBois City police with criminal homicide, murder of the first degree and aggravated assault. District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. presented the case for the commonwealth. Fields was represented by defense attorney Mike Marshall.
An acquaintance/friend of Fields testified first for the commonwealth. He said that around 2:50 a.m. – 3 a.m. Sept. 22, he received a call from Fields, who wanted him to arrange for a young boy to be picked up. He said Fields told him that his girlfriend, Nicole Ann Snyder, 33, of DuBois, had “flipped out” and attempted to kill herself.
The acquaintance said after he made the arrangements for Fields, his fiancée went to the couple’s residence on East Scribner Avenue. He said he was on the phone with her while she was at the scene, and he provided police with a phone number for Fields.
Corporal Randy Young said DuBois City police were dispatched at 2:51 a.m. to an East Scribner Avenue residence after a 911 call from an open line. The dispatcher advised police of the area the call had been traced to.
Upon arrival to the residence, Young said officers were let in by a boy who was covered in blood and who was holding a dog. Later in the hearing, Sergeant Shawn McCleary testified that the boy told officers that “Joe killed my mommy.”
When he entered the residence Young said he observed a female, later identified as Snyder, and there was blood all over. “It was a horrifying scene,” he testified. He said Snyder was still alive but unable to talk, and she pointed toward the back door.
A female at the scene, Young said, related she had her boyfriend on the phone, and he had taken a call from Fields.
McCleary said police started to provide medical attention to Snyder. He said County Control was contacted and advised to expedite emergency personnel to the scene. McCleary said police were notified by emergency personnel that they were unable to save Snyder and she was “gone.”
Young and McCleary said officers proceeded to search the East Scribner Avenue residence. No one was located inside, and they even searched an attic area; after the search, Young and McCleary said they staged the crime scene.
Young said he obtained a phone number for and called Fields to get his version of what had allegedly occurred at the residence. He said Fields repeatedly told him he was driving around about an hour away but refused to give his exact location.
When he asked Fields why he had left when police showed up, Young said Fields told him it was “pretty obvious.” He said there was blood everywhere, and he has a past. Young said Fields told him if he’d been at the scene, police would have put him in handcuffs and taken him to jail.
During their phone conversation, Young said Fields allegedly described the scene as like a deer had been slain at the residence. When asked by Shaw, Young indicated that was an accurate depiction of the crime scene.
After the phone call ended, Young said he made numerous phone calls to Fields. He said Fields continued to tell him he was driving on back roads, wanted to clear his mind and that he hadn’t done anything to Snyder.
Young said he made repeated attempts to get Fields to come to him, and he also offered to meet Fields at his location. He said Fields refused to; when the last call ended he tried to call back approximately eight times, but it went straight to voicemail.
Trooper John Eisman of the state police at DuBois was a part of the search team for Fields. He said Fields was located shortly after 6 p.m. Sept. 22 at a Mount Pleasant Road residence. Eisman said he was among six troopers who responded to take Fields into custody.
Eisman said troopers were about one-and-a-half miles away from the residence and were at the scene in just over two minutes. Eisman said troopers parked at the end of a long driveway and then proceeded to run down to the residence.
He said a trooper ordered Fields to his knees, which he complied to. He said Fields had dried blood on his clothes, and troopers recovered a knife nearby, which also had dried blood on it.
Eisman said Fields was taken into custody and to the DuBois barracks. Trooper David Ray of the state police at Punxsutawney said he was present when Fields was interviewed at the DuBois barracks.
Ray testified that Fields confessed to killing Snyder, who had “pushed his buttons.” He allegedly said after he stabbed her the first time in the chest, Snyder asked to call her mom to say “goodbye,” and he dialed the phone for her. Ray said after that Fields allegedly related there was another altercation, and he began to stab her in the neck area.
Ray said before fleeing the scene, Fields told the young boy to let in the police when they got there.
Clearfield County Coroner Mike Morris testified that Snyder had suffered several stab wounds. He observed deep wounds on both hands, which he found to be “defensive” in nature.
Morris said an autopsy determined that the cause of death was a laceration to the right, internal jugular vein. He said it determined that the manner of death was a homicide.