Thursday, April 12, 2018

BREAKING NEWS! Darious Fitzpatrick Guilty on All Counts in Papa John’s Murder; Sentence: LWP

By David in TN

I was in a Columbia, Tennessee courtroom all day today, Thursday, April 12. After just over five hours deliberation, counting lunch break, the jury found Darious Fitzpatrick guilty on all three counts in the murder of Gordon Schaffer at a Papa John's Pizza restaurant. The counts were:

First Degree Murder
First Degree Felony Murder
Special Aggravated Robbery

The people argued well for LWOP.

The jury was composed of nine whites and three blacks, which broke down to four white men, five white women, two black men and one black woman.

After a sentencing hearing, the jury came back with a sentence of Life with Parole.

Officially, the judge said that means that Fitzpatrick can be eligible for parole after 38 years, with good behavior (in reality, with bad behavior, too), but that “the parameters can change,” meaning he might get out much earlier than that, to kill again.

I'll give a longer report later.

Gordon Schaffer’s mother broke down in court. She has anxiety attacks all the time.

She has two surviving daughters in their twenties, about whom she constantly worries.

After initial attention, even nationally, there was a news blackout lasting three-and-a-half years.

N.S.: A generation ago, Fitzpatrick would have been sentenced to death, and he would have been executed, too. But a few years ago, the Suopreme Court rule that you can’t execute a killer, no matter heinous he is, for a murder he committed before the age of 18, and now some states (e.g., California) have ruled that it is “cruel and unusual punishment” for anyone under 18 to even get sentenced to life in prison, and there is a movement seeking to impose that pro-colored-cutthroat policy nationally.

The real mindset of the racial socialists promoting such policies is that it is “cruel and unusual punishment” to do anything less to colored cut-throats than giving them the key to the city, a tickertape parade, a life of luxury without work and a lifetime get-out-of-jail-free card.

At News Channel 5.

1 comment:

David In TN said...

I arrived at the Columbia, Tennessee courthouse at 8:15 am Thursday morning, 15 minutes before the day's session was to start. I was sitting on a bench outside waiting for the courtroom to open. Judge Robert Jones walked past, saw me, and said hello. I said hello back.

A year ago at a hearing, Judge Jones looked at me and said "Do you have business here?" I answered "I'm a spectator." He obviously recognized me. Very few spectators were in the courtroom. Almost everyone was a friend or family of the victim, Gordon Schaffer.

The lawyers argued about Darious Fitzpatrick's "previous criminal activity." Fitzpatrick had robbed a Dollar General Store across town that night, but it didn't come up in this trial for the Papa John's murder.

The jury went out to deliberate at 9 am. Verdict watch was on.

After a time, I went out to have a meal and go to the public library to check the internet. Fitzpatrick sat at the defense table the whole time. He never moved, totally impassive.

I sat in the gallery reading a book. Time passed very slowly. Suddenly, at 2:05 pm, a buzzer went off, signifying a verdict.

The jury filed in. The foreman, who looked the youngest member of the panel, in his mid-twenties, read the verdict. There were three counts:

Guilty of 1st Degree Murder. Guilty of First Degree Felony Murder. Guilty of Special Aggravated Robbery. The sentencing phase began immediately.

District Attorney General Brent Cooper spoke, calling for a sentence of Life Without Parole. Cooper said "Shaffer never will live while Fitzpatrick does."

Defense attorney Greg Latta then argued Fitzgerald's co-defendant Genovah Pye got off easy by testifying against his partner in crime. Latta said his client should get life with parole.

Gordon Shaffer's mother, Mary Buckner, takes the stand. Ms Buckner said her son wasn't perfect but tried to make everyone laugh and never met a stranger. He had recently acquired a steady girlfriend. Ms Buckner said "My only boy. My only boy." She was in tears and had to stop for a few moments. A glass of water and a tissue was brought to her.

Ms Buckner said she gets nervous when she sees young black males and is angry at herself for feeling like this. She has anxiety attacks. "I don't get parole for this," she said.

Ms Buckner then said Fitzpatrick had destroyed his own mother's life after all she had done for him. "You spit in her face," she said.

The defendant was allowed to make a statement. Fitzpatrick mumbled "I'm sorry," almost inaudible. His mother was in the courtroom but didn't take the stand, never said anything.

DAG Cooper's co-prosecutor, Dan Ronde, gave a rebuttal argument "Losing a child is the toughest thing in the world."

Ronde said he was 68 years old, was aggressive and very able.

The jury consisted of six men and six women, nine white and three black, four white men, two black men, five white women, one black woman.

The penalty phase verdict came at 3:55 pm. The jury decided on a sentence of Life with the possibility of parole.

So ended the "Papa John's Murder Case." It got a lot of publicity when it occurred in October 2014, even some national publicity. Over the next few years, there was seemingly a news blackout. The only reporter was from the local Columbia Daily Herald.

The sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 21 when the sentence will presumably be made official. I assume Judge Jones will act as 13th Juror.

This is something the late Judge Baumgartner neglected to do for the Christian-Newsom Knoxville Horror Trials.