Brian Fitch Sr., accused of killing a Mendota Heights police officer in July, asked Thursday for an expedited hearing to discuss pretrial issues.
During a short arraignment in Dakota County District Court in Hastings, Fitch, who remains in a wheelchair, looked much healthier than he did at an August hearing. At that time, his arm was bandaged, he was slumped over and the judge had to determine if he was coherent enough to continue.
Fitch, 39, was shot eight times by St. Paul officers after he allegedly killed officer Scott Patrick during a traffic stop July 30 in West St. Paul. Earlier this month, he was indicted by a grand jury on charges of intentional first-degree murder.
He was also charged with illegal possession of a firearm and three counts of attempted first-degree murder of a peace officer in connection with the shots fired at the officers trying to arrest him in St. Paul’s North End. St. Paul is in Ramsey County. If he chooses to go to trial, it will be held in Dakota County.
In Thursday’s hearing, Fitch appeared engaged, holding a copy of the criminal complaint and quizzing his attorney, Lauri Traub. She argued that prosecutors had delayed turning over discovery in the case and she was “eager to get started on it.”
County Attorney Chief Deputy Phil Prokopowicz said that five three-ring notebooks of police reports and other materials will be delivered to her office by next week. The evidence is being reviewed by the state’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to make sure it doesn’t compromise other cases or identify who came forward with information or confidential informants.
Traub then asked the judge for an expedited omnibus hearing. It as scheduled for Oct. 20. Fitch remains in jail without bail because of a probation revocation.
According to the criminal complaint, Fitch shot Patrick as the officer walked up to his car during a routine traffic stop. Fitch then ditched his car at a nearby house, picked up an SUV and was spotted several hours later in St. Paul. Police chased him h until he stopped and began firing at them, sparking the shootout. Police used an armored vehicle to arrest him.
Fitch had absconded from a drug-treatment program before he killed the officer. Dakota County Attorney Jim Backstrom has criticized the judge who initially sentenced him to the program.