UPDATE: Inmate Testifies, Says Brian Fitch Asked Him to Kill Witnesses
ST. CLOUD -- The trial for accused cop killer Brian Fitch Senior became tense on Wednesday afternoon.
Prosecution called in inmate Claude Crockson, who knew Fitch from when they were both in the Oak Park Heights Correctional Facility medical unit. Crockson was brought into court wearing handcuffs and an orange jumpsuit.
Crockson told the jury that Fitch approached him saying he wanted a witness in his upcoming trial killed. Fitch later slid a hand-written detailed map to the appartment of Taya Moran under his cell door. He says Fitch also approached him on a separate occasion, wanting fellow witness Laurie Pocock killed.
Crockson says he contacted police with the information, wanting to clear his name and improve himself by providing evidence.
In response, the defense pointed out Crockson's extensive criminal record: being in prison 7-8 times in his life, mostly for drugs. The defense also pointed out that Crockson may also be rewarded by law enforcement after the trial is finished.
BCA special agent Chris Olson was also called to the stand. Olson talked directly with Crockson about the note Fitch had given him. The map was shown to the jury and was detailed with an "X" marking the apartment building and top floor location where Moran was living. The map also listed street names and familiar landmarks and restaurants in the area.
Olson described the note as unique, because it was written on the back of a piece of themed paper with the words "Happy Holidays" on it. He says a search warrant was then used on Fitch's cell, where he found other pieces of paper that matched the exact type he had used to draw the map.
At the end of trial for the afternoon, Judge Mary Theisen now expects to hand the case to the jury on Monday.
Earlier in the morning, prosecutors presented their case in day five of the Brian Fitch Senior murder trial in St. Cloud. Fitch is charged with first degree murder in the shooting death of Mendota Heights Police Officer Scott Patrick.
A handful of witnesses testified in the morning session including West St. Paul Police Lieutenant Matthew Swenke who talked about his responsibility of securing the crime scene where officer Patrick was killed and the subsequent search for suspects including Brian Fitch.
Three Bureau of Criminal Apprehension forensic scientists testified including Kurt Moline who is a firearms specialist.
Moline told jurors he studied the bullets, shell casings and 9mm Smith and Wesson handgun found at the scene of the police shootout with Fitch.
Moline talked about the specific groove characteristics of gun barrels and how they make unique marks on the bullets and casings when fired from that gun. Moline says he test fired the gun and then compared those bullets and casings against the ones found at the crime scenes in an effort to determine that the gun found at the scene was indeed used in the shootings.