Fitch exploded at the judge in an expletive-laced tirade after his verdict was read. He was then led out of the courtroom.
“Thanks for your biased, a–, bull—- case,” Fitch said. “Every single thing that came up. Every single objection, you overruled. This was such a freaking a– set up.”
The judge then ordered bailiffs to remove Fitch from the courtroom.
“You b—-. Take me out. Don’t stare at me, b—-,” he said,
Six uniformed officers were in courtroom for the verdict reading. Fitch is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday, Feb. 4 in Dakota County — an automatic life sentence for first-degree murder.
1. First-degree murder
2. Attempted first-degree murder
3. Second-degree assault
4. Attempted first-degree murder
5. Second-degree assault
6. Attempted first-degree murder
7. Second-degree assault
8. Felon in possession
9. Intentional discharge of a weapon
Closing arguments began Monday morning in St. Cloud, Minn., and Officer Patrick’s two families were in attendance — his widow and two daughters, and then his brothers from the Mendota Heights police force. So many of his fellow officers packed into the Stearns County courtroom that it was standing room only.
“Our whole department that could be here, was here. If they’re not here, they’re either working or sleeping,” Mendota Heights Police Chief Michael Aschenbrener said.
Defense: ‘Huge gaping hole’ in timeline
Fitch’s defense team responded, playing the audio of the dramatic shootout between Fitch and police on July 30. Attorney Lauri Traub took 45 minutes to point out possible reasonable doubt in the state’s case.
Traub argued there’s a “huge gaping hole” in the state’s timeline, because Jesse Charles and his mom, who gave Fitch the Hyundai SUV that day, testified Fitch was at their house before 12:20 p.m., before Officer Patrick was gunned down in West St. Paul by someone driving Fitch’s green Pontiac Grand Am. Traub also jumped on the fact that no eyewitness can identify Fitch as the shooter at Dodd Road and Smith avenue, nor is the gunman’s face on Officer Patrick’s squad camera video.
“The case is now in jury hands,” Chief Aschenbrener said. “Listening to the closing arguments, I think both sides did a nice job presenting the facts, and they kept the emotion out as best they could.”