The Big Bloody: Man Charged with Killing Girlfriend, Chopping Up Body

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click to enlarge Vernell J. Loggins Jr.
Vernell J. Loggins Jr.
A man with a history of erratic behavior for frightening and stalking people, was charged yesterday with killing his girlfriend and dismembering her body. Vernell J. Loggins Jr., 37, was arrested Wednesday in the very apartment complex where the killing took place.

A maintenance worker at the Monroe Woods Apartment complex in Pacific (about 20 miles southwest of St. Louis) discovered the remains Tuesday of Stephanie M. Fields.

Investigators say she was killed with a knife on Sunday or Monday (Nov. 1 or 2) and her body then chopped up and placed in a roll-out trash can next to a Dumpster. Fields family identified her body based on tattoos. Police says that some body parts remain missing and have asked the public for any help finding them.

Fields' mutilated remains were under bags of ice and bloody towels inside the trash can that had been glued shot. A surveillance tape at a nearby Wal-Mart shows Loggins purchasing a trash can, glue and carpet cleaner around 9:30 a.m. on Monday and leaving the store's property in his white Cadillac Escalade.

Vernell has been charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action. Bail has been set a $1 million cash.

According to KSDK (Channel 5), Vernell appears in video footage as one of many apartment residents looking on this week as investigators scoured the complex for clues. Vernell was arrested in his apartment without incident. Blood and tissue was also discovered inside the residence.

The Post-Dispatch, meanwhile, reports that Vernell pleaded guilty two times in Franklin County to a misdemeanor charge of disturbing or scaring another person in 2004 and 2005 and had three orders of protection filed against him a couple years earlier for stalking.

Neighbors and friends say that Shields -- who would have turned 26 yesterday -- had feared her boyfriend and left him briefly last week to stay with her mother in House Springs. Unfortunately for Shields, she returned to her boyfriend. One last time.

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