HENDRY COUNTY, Fla. - An arrest in a 17-year cold case has ties to a crime spree that terrorized Southwest Florida in the 1990's... The Lords of Chaos: four teenagers who went on a crime spree in 1996 that included arson and ended with the murder of a teacher, Mark Schwebes.
The teenager killed in that 1993 cold case was the brother of Lords of Chaos member Derek Shields. Shields, now serving life in prison, told WINK that his brother's death and the years of unanswered questions, set off a chain of events that may have cost a teacher his life.
"Looking back I can probably say, yeah, I was looking at them to get some revenge; through them," Derek Shields told us about his experience with the Lords of Chaos.
Shields, who has spent almost half his life in prison, looked back at decisions that changed and ended lives.
"Being around Kevin Foster and the Lords of Chaos, that was the biggest bad decision I made," he said.
Shields, and three other teenagers, including Kevin Foster, killed Riverdale High band leader Mark Schwebes on his front door step late at night in April of 1996. Shields knocked on Schwebes front door and then stepped aside while Foster, the Lords of Chaos leader, shot Schwebes in the head and then shot him again. Foster is on death row. Shields got life in prison.
Three years before the Lords of Chaos terrorized the town, Derek Shields' older brother, Fred, died near the corner of Colonial and Winkler in Fort Myers. Shields says revenge led him to the Lords of Chaos.
"More or less an eye for an eye. That's the way I was back then," he explained.
Jennifer Shields, Fred and Derek's sister, and Ashlee Shields, their half-sister, want answers.
"I just want to know why, why all these years, what happened... why did it happen?" said Jennifer.
"That it was just vehicular homicide? I don't believe that one bit at all," said Ashlee.
Fort Myers Police say Freddy Shields was thrown off a car after climbing onto the roof while the car going 45mph on Colonial Boulevard right near Winkler. Donny Lee Adkins was driving and took off before police could talk to him. A task force that included the Lee County Sheriff's Office tracked him down in Georgia just a couple of weeks ago.
"When it first happened, the first story was that he had fallen out of the car asleep," Derek said from inside prison.
The Shields family said they didn't buy that story. The police report shows the next day other people in the car changed their story and said Fred climbed out on the hood of the car.
"And they tried to say Freddy was drunk and he had pills in him and taking all these drugs but there was maybe two beers he had and caffeine pills but there were no drugs. No nothing in him," said Jennifer.
We pulled the autopsy and the toxicology reports which confirms just a little alcohol in his system, but he was not drunk and there were no illegal drugs. Police records and the autopsy results seem consistent with someone being thrown from the hood of a moving car. But the family isn't sure.
Another big question, why did it take so long to find Donny Lee Adkins in the same small Georgia town that was on his driver's license in 1993? Adkins' trial may answer some of those questions.
For the most part, the Shields family says they're after truth, not punishment.
"I don't think he deserves to rot in jail or anything," Ashlee told WINK.
Derek Shields says, "it all depends on what happened. If if it was an accident, no."
But just as Derek Shields says Fred's death may be one of the reasons he's in jail for life, he also believes it may be what gives him the courage to keep fighting for a second chance.
"When he was leaving that night, I ran out the back door. I don't know what-- looking back, I know why. 'cause it was the last time I was going to see him. But at that time, I don't know why I did it. I ran out the door and screamed, 'Hey freddy... I never gave up.' He looked back and smiled. Those were my last words to him," Derek recalled.
Derek Shields was just denied clemency but says he'll try again.