Defense opens holes in alleged timeline of cop's murder

The prosecution's star witness in Stearns County court on Friday was Taya Moran, the girlfriend of Brian Fitch at the time of the July 30 shooting that killed Mendota Heights Police Officer Scott Patrick. She didn't have anything to say to reporters leaving court, but had plenty to say while under oath.

The 29-year old testified she met Fitch thru a mutual friend just months earlier, and they started a sexual relationship. But a couple days before Officer Patrick was killed, Taya said she and Fitch got into an argument that ended with Fitch threatening to break into her Oakdale, Minn. apartment to collect some belongings. Scared, Taya called the police and warned them of Fitch, passing along his cell phone number to an officer.

When Fitch got word, he wasn't happy. He "lectured" Taya for several hours, telling her that as a wanted man with warrants out for his arrest, her call to police "ruined me" and that "they had forgot about me." She claims his rant included this potentially damning statement: "If I were to get pulled over, I'd shoot a cop."

On cross examination, Fitch's defense team, led by Lauri Traub, attempted to poke holes in Taya's story, getting her to admit that she used meth and slept with Fitch even after the threatening fight. Traub also uncovered evidence that Taya was plotting with an acquaintance in prison, using her testimony as leverage to cut him a deal.

The week wrapped up early with testimony from several more witnesses, including Jesse Charles and his mother. Charles spoke to Fox 9 right after Fitch's arrest. He and his mom were the ones who let Fitch dump his green Pontiac at their St. Paul home on July 30, covered with a tarp. They then allowed Fitch to borrow their Hyundai SUV.

It was that SUV Fitch was eventually arrested in hours later, after a shootout with police. The problem for prosecutors is that their testimony has Fitch at the Charles home before 12:20 p.m. -- before Officer Patrick was killed by someone driving the Grand Am.

It will be interesting to see what this jury makes of several of the state's witnesses. Some are admitted drug users. In fact, one testified she was on a 14-day meth binge, with no sleep, when this shooting occurred.

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