Attorneys for cop-killing suspect Brian G. Fitch filed motions Friday to exclude evidence prosecutors say they have that Fitch tried to have a witness killed before they could testify against him.
Prosecutors filed a short notice Monday that alleged Fitch conspired from his prison cell to commit first-degree murder and attempted murder and aggravated witness tampering, although no criminal charges have been filed yet.
The defense motion didn’t refer specifically to that notice but asked to “preclude the use of any Spreigl evidence” — evidence of other wrongdoing — because it is “unfairly prejudicial” and because prosecutors did not give “proper notice.”
Fitch, 40, is charged with first-degree murder in the July 30 shooting death of Mendota Heights police officer Scott Patrick.
Fitch also faces three counts of attempted first-degree murder and unlawful possession of a firearm in connection with shootout with St. Paul police before he was captured about eight hours after the officer’s death.
Jury selection begins Monday in Stearns County District Court in St. Cloud. The motions also are likely to be heard that day by Dakota County District Judge Mary Theisen.
Defense attorneys also want the judge to add three counts of second-degree assault, a less serious charge than first-degree attempted murder, and add the less serious offense of reckless discharge of a firearm. That would give jurors a choice of charges when they are deciding their verdicts.
Theisen granted a defense motion in December for a change of venue because of extensive local publicity about the case. At its meeting last week, the Dakota County Board approved an extra $33,000 for overtime and travel and lodging costs for the Sheriff’s Office and the county attorney’s office due to the trial being moved to St. Cloud.
Defense attorneys included several other motions in their filing Friday. They include asking for the identity of a confidential informant who talked to state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agents on July 30, precluding testimony related to certain cellphone records, and “opinion testimony” about the trajectory of a bullet found in the vehicle Fitch was driving when he was arrested.