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Prosecutors say Fitch tried to have witnesses killed; defense seeks delay in trial

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A judge is considering whether to put jury selection on hold in the Brian Fitch trial, after prosecutors Tuesday outlined more allegations against the man charged with murdering a police officer.

The Pioneer Press reports a Dakota County prosecutor shared evidence that Fitch asked another prison inmate to kill two witnesses whose testimony could tie Fitch to the July shooting death of Mendota Heights police officer Scott Patrick.

The newspaper says Judge Mary J. Theisen refused to postpone the trial that opened Monday, but did not rule out taking a break in jury selection to give defense lawyers time to prepare a response to the new evidence.

Prosecutors said Fitch slipped his fellow inmate a hand-drawn map showing the location of one witness' home, KSTP reports.

The station says another revelation involved a letter found in Fitch's cell that prosecutors say raises a security issue. Fitch reportedly declares in the letter that he will speak up in court if he thinks any witness is lying, adding "What are they going to do, proceed without me? Nope. This is going to be a very interesting trial to say the least."

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Fitch is being tried at the Stearns County courthouse in St. Cloud after Judge Theisen ruled last month it would be difficult to seat an impartial jury in Dakota County, where residents have followed news of the case closely and animosity toward Fitch runs high.

Attorneys need to agree upon 14 jurors (two will be alternates) and FOX 9 reports two had been seated by the end of Tuesday's proceedings.

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