ST. CLOUD – After a two-week search, a man prosecutors plan to call as a witness in the trial of Brian G. Fitch is now in jail.
Fitch is accused of gunning down Mendota Heights police officer Scott Patrick last July.
Jacob Kenneth Martin Hayes, 28, of West St. Paul, was jailed in Dakota County on Wednesday evening just hours after social media circulated information about a warrant for his arrest.
Hayes is a “critical witness in this case,” according to the warrant. Before issuing the warrant for his arrest Tuesday, authorities said they searched for him for two weeks, including at “all past known associates, past employers, emergency contacts noted in Dakota County records and his girlfriend and her parents.”
State law allows witnesses in such cases to be held if a judge determines it is warranted.
Meanwhile, four more jurors were chosen Wednesday, bringing the jury to six so far. Twelve jurors and two alternates are needed.
The jurors selected Wednesday include a construction worker, two teachers and an interior decorator.
Before jury selection resumes Thursday morning, Dakota County District Judge Mary Theisen said she plans to hear several defense motions. Defense attorney Lauri Traub wants to force the prosecution to reveal the identity of a confidential informant who spoke to state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agents on the day Patrick was killed. Traub said the informant may have information that can help Fitch.
She also wants to exclude from the trial any evidence that Fitch attempted to have two key witnesses killed while he was imprisoned at Oak Park Heights state prison. Fitch allegedly named two witnesses to another inmate and spoke about getting someone to kill them, it was revealed in court Tuesday. He passed the inmate a hand-drawn map that showed where one of the witnesses lives, prosecutors said.
Traub also wants to exclude certain cellphone and bullet-trajectory analysis. She’s complained to Theisen that some of the evidence was only introduced in the past week, and she hasn’t had time to review it or find her own experts to examine the material. Traub said earlier this week that she will ask for a continuance if the evidence isn’t excluded.
Jury selection will resume Thursday with the interviews of up to 20 more people from the pool of 93 originally summoned to appear for jury duty for this case. About a third of the group has been interviewed so far, with most of them excused.
Theisen said she hopes to finish jury selection this week. Opening statements in the high-profile case are scheduled for Tuesday.