HASTINGS, Minn. (WCCO) — Officers of all stripes jammed into a Dakota County courtroom Wednesday in a massive show of support. They had come to witness the sentencing of Brian George Fitch Sr. and to be there as a symbol of justice prevailed.
On Monday, a jury found Fitch guilty of first-degree murder in the July shooting death of Mendota Heights police officer Scott Patrick. On Wednesday morning, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.READ MORE: Como Park H.S. Student About To Take Flight As J-ROTC Cadet
“It was a cold-blooded murder committed with malice and without remorse,” Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said.
Fitch was brought in by deputies and was wearing a grey sweatshirt, with his arms handcuffed to a wide leather belt. Judge Mary Theisen, who presided over his trial, was ill and unable to be present at the sentencing hearing. Dakota County judge Karen Asphaug filled in and asked Fitch if he had anything to say before handing down his sentences.
Fitch answered that he wanted to say something for the record and told a courtroom packed with law enforcement and Patrick’s family that it was no wonder Thiesen was sick.
“She railroaded my case,” he said.
Still denying he had anything to do with Patrick’s murder on July 30, Fitch said it was “trumped up beyond imagination.” While expressing sorrow to Patrick’s family, Fitch said he is sorry Patrick’s daughters lost their dad. He added that too is a father to family.
Fitch also proclaimed that he was a Christian and ended by saying that although people may hate him, he’ll go to heaven when he dies.
Sitting in the crowd was Fitch’s mother, Alice.
“I cry for everyone,” she said after the hearing ended.READ MORE: Behind-The-Scenes Of Wildlife Science Center's Mission To Learn All About Wolves
Impact statements from Patrick’s wife, Michelle, and daughters, Erin and Amy, were too much for Alice Fitch. She sobbed nearly uncontrollably as each spoke of how the murder ripped away a loving husband and doting father.
The three spoke of a smile forever absent, a lone wedding walk down an aisle, and a dance or graduation with no dad.
Michelle Patrick spoke of the countless cards and letters from those her husband had contact with, explaining the untold ways he touched their lives.
Alice Fitch said that her son had no father to look up to.
“I know that Brian cried out for his dad all his life for some connection with his father, and he never got it,” she said.
She added that she wants to believe her son.
“I wasn’t there,” Alice Fitch said. “I’m a mother, I want to believe him…that he wouldn’t do a crime that takes somebody’s life.”
Still, for the family and friends of officer Patrick, there remains a hurt that will never heal.MORE NEWS: How Can You Tell If You're Truly Burning Out? What Can You Do About It?
“We’re based on a judicial system that demands a vigorous defense for the accused,” said Patrick’s brother, Mike Brue, “and we think Mr. Fitch got one.”