MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Sixteen days after he allegedly gunned down veteran Mendota Heights Police Officer Scott Patrick, 39-year-old Brian Fitch Sr. made his first court appearance on his arraignment.
Fitch is charged in Dakota County Circuit Court with two counts of first-degree murder and premeditated first-degree murder for the killing of Officer Patrick on July 30.
A grand jury will convene in mid-September to review the charges.
After being shot eight times when St. Paul Police officers finally apprehended him, Fitch still bears the wounds sustained in that final gun battle.
He was dressed in a white hospital gown, with his left arm entirely bandaged. His right leg and arm were both cuffed to a wheelchair as deputies rolled him into a Dakota County courtroom for the arraignment before Judge Mary Theisen.
Fitch’s court-appointed public defender, Lauri Traub, appealed to Judge Theisen to delay the arraignment. She argued that her client, who remains on pain medications, is incoherent and unable to understand the proceedings.
But Dakota County prosecutor, Phil Prokopowicz, argued against the delay. Prokopowicz said that while transferring Fitch from Region’s Hospital to the Dakota County jail, deputies found Fitch lucid and fully capable of understanding what was being said.
He told Judge Theisen that the defendant’s lethargic behavior was “just an act.”
In the end, Judge Theisen agreed, and Fitch’s attorney waived the reading of the criminal complaint.
Citing the seriousness of the crime and his past criminal behavior, including outstanding parole violations, Judge Theisen set Fitch’s bail at $3 million without conditions.