Cop killer Brian Fitch accused of witness tampering from prison

Just days before he's scheduled to stand trial for the murder of a Mendota Heights police officer, Brian Fitch is facing new accusations of conspiracy to commit murder and witness tampering – all while serving time in a maximum-security prison.

Fitch, 39, is charged with first-degree murder in the July 30, 2014 shooting death of Officer Scott Patrick. Fitch has pleaded not guilty, with jury selection scheduled to begin Jan. 12 in Stearns County.

Targeting a witness?

Awaiting trial at Oak Park Heights Prison, Fox 9 has learned Fitch has been disciplined for verbal harassment and threatening others, mostly in the infirmary, where he's been treated for a gunshot wound. That pales in comparison to what he may've been keeping secret.

In a court brief, prosecutors said they plan to introduce evidence that Fitch was hatching a murder plot. The target: One of the 60 witnesses who could testify against him. It's not clear how investigators learned about the threat, whether it was recorded in a phone conversation with someone outside the prison, with a visitor, or a fellow inmate.

In a separate order, prosecutors had already asked the court to keep the addresses of witnesses a secret, and some of the key witness are already changing their address. The woman who lived with Fitch in an Inver Grove Heights home was informed of the murder plot and told us she's moving.

The two people who loaned Fitch a car after he allegedly shot Officer Patrick, who live at a home on South Robert Street, moved almost immediately.

The key witness will be a police officer who was with Fitch a few hours after the shooting at Regions Hospital, when the officer says he heard Fitch say, "Just so you know, I hate cops and I'm guilty."

Prosecutors have asked for Fitch's medical records, just in case the defense argues Fitch was sedated or medicated and had diminished capacity.

At his trial beginning Monday, Fitch will finally get to face his accusers, including one witness he may have already tried to kill.

The filing

The two-page filing, submitted by Dakota County prosecutor Phil Prokopowicz, claims there's evidence Fitch conspired to commit new crimes while in prison. The accusations include:

- Conspiracy to commit first-degree murder

- Attempted first-degree murder

- Attempted aggravated first-degree witness tampering

The filing seeks legal permission to introduce evidence of these alleged offenses during Fitch's murder trial.

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