Defense attorneys for Brian G. Fitch Sr., the man accused of shooting Mendota Heights police officer Scott Patrick on July 30, filed a motion Thursday asking a judge to suppress some of the evidence against him.
They also sought a change of venue for the trial, and asked to separate the charges filed jointly by Dakota and Ramsey counties.
A trial date for Fitch, 39, has been set for Jan. 12 in Dakota County District Court in Hastings.
A hearing in which a defendant can challenge the admissibility of evidence had already been set for Dec. 16. But the details of what defense attorneys would ask for were not known until the motion was filed Thursday.
The three-page document said his attorneys will ask District Judge Mary Theisen to move the trial location of because of “extensive prejudicial pretrial publicity.”
They also will seek suppress statements Fitch made to two police investigators on July 31 while he was at Regions Hospital.
It’s unclear what specifically that means. But the criminal complaint does allege that Fitch, while hospitalized, told an officer guarding him, “Just to let you know, I hate cops and I’m guilty.”
The motion said investigators obtained Fitch’s statements without reading him his rights.
Patrick, 47, a father of two from Mendota Heights, was shot to death about 12:20 p.m. July 30 after he tried to make a routine traffic stop on Dodd Road near Smith Avenue S. in West St. Paul. An eight-hour manhunt in St. Paul’s North End ended when Fitch was shot eight times, after a standoff and shootout with police.
In addition to the two counts of first-degree murder Fitch faces in connection with Patrick’s death, other charges include three counts of first-degree attempted murder, three counts of dangerous weapon drive-by shooting, three counts of second-degree assault and one count of possession of a weapon.
Patrick was killed in Dakota County; the standoff and shootout happened in Ramsey County. In an unusual move, prosecutors from both counties convened a joint grand jury, made up of citizens from both counties.
The motion filed Thursday said that the events in Dakota and Ramsey counties “are not related” and separating them “is appropriate to promote a fair determination of the defendant’s guilt or innocence of each offense or charge.”
It also asks for the dismissal of the grand jury indictment on several grounds: that the state law governing the charges is unconstitutional; that the grand jury considered “unrelated subject matter, events and activities from more than one county” in violation of state law; that the grand jury’s makeup was not “in reasonable proportion” to the populations of the two counties; that the venue was improperly designated before the indictment was returned; and that allowing a judge to designate the trial venue violates the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure.
The next hearing in Fitch’s case is Monday.