Tuesday, March 31, 2015

WEJB/NSU Exclusive: Update on the Papa John’s Murder of Gordon Schaffer; are Tennessee Officials Dragging Their Feet, in Order to Quietly Thwart Justice, in the Case of Suspect Darious Fitzpatrick?


War crime victim Gordon Schaffer, 22

Suspected war criminal Rodney Harvell

Suspected war criminal Darious Fitzpatrick, though only 17 at the time of the Schaeffer murder, was already a violent, career criminal with several felony convictions as a juvenile; his example is spurring calls for juvenile justice reform in Tennessee

By David in TN
5:01 p.m.

I was at the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, Tennessee, this morning of March 31, 2015. I had been informed the County Juvenile Court would meet to transfer Darious Fitzpatrick, incarcerated for the murder of Gordon Schaffer at a Papa John's Pizza last October to adult court.

At 8:30 a.m., an elderly black lady wearing a uniform opened the door for Juvenile Court. She asked everyone "Who are you here for?" When I came to the door, I told her I was there as an observer. She told me an "observer" can't come in. You have to be a relative or friend of somebody.

I saw several people who might have been relatives of the accused.

So I left. When going out the back entrance of the courthouse (only one you can use), I saw a deputy sheriff talking on a cell phone. I heard him say "Bring him around to the other side." I suspected who "him" might be.

I followed the deputy to the front side of the building. He stood there a few minutes. Then a sheriff's patrol car circled the building three times. I walked across the street and sat on a bench, where I could observe.

A few minutes later, there were three patrol cars. Out of one of them came Darious Fitzpatrick. He looked just like the arrest photo. Fitzpatrick wore a green jailhouse jump suit with his hands manacled in front. He had a blank facial expression.

He was escorted by four deputy sheriffs and a juvenile system worker. One of the deputies looked at me, might have wondered why I was watching. They went through a basement entrance out of sight.

I'll check back in a month or so.

Previously, by David in TN at WEJB/NSU on this war crime:

“Papa John's CEO Attends Funeral of Employee Shot Dead by Robbers While Working at the Popular Pizza Chain - and Pays for his Service and Medical Expenses”;

“War Crime Follow-Up: The Papa John’s Murder in Columbia, Tennessee”; and

“Exclusive Update on the Papa John’s Murder of Gordon Schaeffer.”]


Anonymous said...

You have to be a relative or a "friend of somebody"?
How is a "friend of somebody" legally defined?
What would have happened if you had challenged the woman on that? How about simply claiming to be a "friend of someone"? I suspect the only people who would be challenged as supposed "friends" would be ones of paler complexions.
Sounds like she was full of it. I don't think there was any legal reason why anyone from the public could attend a hearing like that.

David In TN said...

The first place I went in the courthouse was the Circuit Court's office and saw the same female employees I'd seen previously. I told them I was there to attend the juvenile court hearing.

None of them told me I couldn't go in. But the lady acting as gatekeeper said I couldn't, as an "observer." Or I suppose a tax-paying citizen.

David In TN said...

I have an update on the Papa John's murder of Gordon Shaffer. On July 1, I went to the courthouse in Columbia, Tennessee and to the Circuit Court's office. This is where I've previously gone for information.

I asked one of the female employees if Darious Fitzpatrick had been transferred to adult court and if the grand jury had returned an indictment. She walked to a computer and in less than a minute gave me the details.

Fitzpatrick was indicted on two counts of first degree murder and one count of "especially aggravated robbery." He was to be arraigned on July 9, but I couldn't come on that day.

Fitzpatrick's next court appearance will be August 10 at 9 am. I was told there will either be an announcement of a plea or a trial date will be set. In other words, a status hearing.

I'll try to make the August 10 hearing.

David In TN said...

Today, October 6, 2015, I went by the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, Tennessee to clarify the status of the upcoming trial of Darious Fitzpatrick for the murder of Gordon Schaffer.

The murder took place late at night a year ago while Schaffer was working alone at a Papa John's Pizza. It was caught on surveillance camera.

The next hearing will be in a week, October 13 at 9 am. I was told by a woman in the Circuit Court Clerk's office there will either be a plea or on to a trial.

The trial for the Gordon Schaffer murder is set for April 25, 2016 as of now.