Defense attorney: Not guilty plea planned for man accused of killing officer Scott Patrick


The man accused of fatally shooting Mendota Heights police officer Scott Patrick was in court Thursday morning, and while he did not actually enter a plea, defense attorneys told reporters the plan is to plead not guilty, KSTP reports.

Brian Fitch Sr. is charged with first-degree murder in Dakota County in the slaying of officer Patrick, a 47-year-old who was fatally shot during what's been described as a routine traffic stop in West St. Paul July 30.

Typically, a suspect enters a plea during an arraignment, but Fitch and his defense lawyers did not do so Thursday. Instead, the defense asked for a quick omnibus hearing, the Star Tribune reports, and a court date was set for Oct. 20.

However, Fitch's attorneys told reporters with WCCO and KSTP the plan, at this point, is to plead not guilty.

On Twitter, reporters also noted Fitch was in a wheelchair – authorities say he was shot multiple times while exchanging gunfire with police just prior to his arrest.

In addition to initial charges of first-degree murder in Dakota County, Fitch was also charged in Ramsey County with multiple counts of attempted murder of a peace officer, drive-by shooting and second-degree assault, which authorities say stem from his actions during the daylong manhunt that followed Patrick's death.

Earlier this month Fitch was indicted by a multicounty grand jury, WCCO reported, on one count of first-degree murder, three counts of first-degree attempted murder of a peace officer, and illegally possessing a firearm.

The charges were combined into one case that will be heard in Dakota County.

In August, a judge ordered Fitch be held without bail.

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