[N.S.: I am so honored to have David in TN as my friend and partner-in-crime! Note that in addition to attending court hearings and trials, including several Knoxville Horror trials, David is a walking encyclopedia of murder cases, and very knowledgeable about politics.]
[Previously, at WEJB/NSU: “Remember the Papa John’s Murder of Gordon Schaffer in Columbia, Tennessee? WEJB/NSU’s David in TN is Still on the Case! (Update)”]
By David in TN
Friday, March 3, 2017 at 9:11:00 P.M. EST
Well, there was a motions hearing for Darious Fitzpatrick today. Not only is there a news blackout, the hearing was held in a small courtroom on the bottom floor of the building called "Courtroom A."
The big courtroom across from the Circuit Court office was used for Chancery Court. After lunch, the Fitzpatrick hearing was moved to this one. Why wasn't the entire hearing held in the main facility? Isn't a murder case more important?
Anyway, I went to Courtroom A for the morning session. For an hour, divorce and civil cases were heard. Then Darious Fitzpatrick was brought in. He wore jailhouse stripes and shackles. He'd gained weight since I saw him two years ago.
War criminal Darious Fitzpatrick, though only 17 at the time of the war crime in 2014, was already a violent career criminal with several felony convictions as a juvenile; his example is spurring calls for juvenile justice reform in Tennessee. I did not refer to Fitzpatrick as a "suspected war criminal," because he has confessed that he shot to kill Gordon Schaffer, even though it took him several shots to hit his victim.
There was nobody but me and a young black male (sitting a few feet from me) in the gallery. The Judge spotted me and asked, "Do you have any business?" I answered, "I'm a spectator, a private citizen." The judge smiled and seemed satisfied.
Can you imagine that? I had to explain being there.
Suspected war criminal Kevoyeh Pye
The black male I mentioned turned out to be one Kevoyeh Pye, one of the three suspects. Pye is out on $150,000 bail. The judge interrogated Pye on his employment status and lack of a lawyer. One will have to be appointed. Pye then left the courtroom. When he squeezed past me, Pye said, "Excuse me, sir."
One of the issues for the hearing was the mitigation and behavior experts the defense is going to call. The prosecution wants discovery on the reports the defense is going to use.
The prosecution says they will be blindsided in the sentencing hearing without discovery. The issue of the trial will be whether the sentence is Life Without Parole or Life With the Possibility of Parole.
Since the murder was caught on surveillance camera, the defense will be Bad Childhood, Poverty, Abusive and/or Absent Parents, Stoned on Drugs, etc. Diminished Capacity is off the table.
The other motion is a defense claim Fitzpatrick wasn't properly "Mirandized." The defendant was supposedly asked about three robberies, two of Dollar General stores without being told he didn't have to say anything about ANY of them.
In his police interview, Fitzpatrick said "I didn't do nuthin.’" Yes, that's what he said.
It turned out Fitzpatrick's DNA was on the robbery car, in addition to the murder being on camera. The defense is picking away anywhere they can.
The interrogation was played in the courtroom, sounded like Fitzpatrick was "read his rights." He said he was on "prescription drugs and marijuana." The car was at each crime scene. The tag numbers were seen. The detectives told him over and over cooperating would be better, but Fitzpatrick denied everything. He didn't refuse to talk.
The detectives went to Fitzpatrick's house to arrest him. They found the murder weapon in the house.
The trial is expected to last a week, starts in late June.
I had to leave at 2 p.m. The hearing was still going on.
Suspected war criminal Majestick Alveleano Gillespie