Trial for accused cop killer Brian Fitch begins with jury selection


The trial for accused cop killer Brian Fitch got underway Monday in Stearns County with jury selection, which will likely take several days to complete.

Fitch, 40, is accused of first-degree murder for fatally shooting Mendota Heights police officer Scott Patrick during a traffic stop on July 30. He also faces charges of attempted murder and felony gun possession for allegedly shooting at other officers who arrested him in St. Paul following a manhunt.

Fitch has pleaded not guilty.

The trial was moved out of Dakota County to Stearns County because of concerns about pre-trial publicity.

The Pioneer Press reports prosecutors and defense attorneys are expected to spend the next week trimming the group of prospective jurors down from 93 to 14 – a dozen jurors and two alternates.

Jurors filled out a questionnaire Monday that focused on their background and pretrial publicity.

The newspaper reports Dakota County Judge Mary Theisen told the group not to discuss the case, seek outside information or read news coverage about it.

"If you have a question in your mind about whether or not you should be doing something, you can bet the answer is no," Theisen told perspective jurors.

Theisen scolded Fitch twice on Monday. Once was for talking with his attorney when he was supposed to be listening.

The second time she ordered Fitch to take his hands out of his pockets.

Evidence in dispute

Defense attorneys announced plans to ask Judge Theisen to exclude several pieces of evidence from the trial, including cell phone data, because it was handed over to the defense only days before the trial.

According to FOX 9, another issue that Theisen will have to rule on is whether prosecutors will be able to present evidence on their recent allegations that Fitch conspired to commit murder and tamper with a witness from his prison cell.

Attorneys will begin interviewing the jurors Tuesday. Opening arguments are scheduled for Jan. 20, and two weeks of testimony are expected to follow.

KSTP reports if Fitch is convicted of first-degree murder he would automatically be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Next Up

State Capitol.

MN House votes to condemn insurrection and false election claims, 8 GOPers vote against

The resolution condemned violence at the U.S. and state capitols and declared support for 2020 election results.

Michelle Young

Teacher from Edina steals Matt James' heart on 'The Bachelor'

She's also a former high school and college basketball star.

Screen Shot 2021-01-21 at 1.57.10 PM

Missing woman found dead in north Minneapolis

The 63-year-old's body was found three days after she was reported missing.

Mike Lindell, My Pillow CEO.

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell has Twitter account 'permanently suspended'

The move was taken by Twitter due to apparent violations of its Civic Integrity Policy.

coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2

Minnesota confirms America's 1st case of Brazil P.1 COVID strain

The strain was found in a Twin Cities metro resident who recently traveled to Brazil.


Gov. Walz announces education plan aimed at eliminating disparities

The plan covers seven categories, including closing the racial education gap and improving opportunities in rural Minnesota

Tax forms

Charges: Otsego cleaning business underreported sales

An Otsego woman is accused of owing more than $20,500 in sales tax, penalties and interest.

Screen Shot 2020-04-17 at 2.58.26 PM

Walz gives vaccine providers 3-day, 7-day deadlines to use doses

Those that don't use their allocation will be given less in the future.


Border officers seize more than $550K in counterfeit designer goods

The shipments of fake goods were seized on Jan. 22.