Spencer Convict To Be Re-Sentenced

gavel_sxcSpencer, Iowa — A Spencer man serving 45 years in prison after being convicted of beating another man to death will be re-sentenced.

At a May 2013 sentencing presided by Judge Carl Petersen, 21-year-old Christopher Fitzpatrick was sentenced to ten years on a Voluntary Manslaughter charge, twenty-five years on a First Degree Burglary Charge, and ten years on a Possession of a Controlled Substance/Methamphetamine charge, with all time to be served consecutively.

However, the Iowa Court of Appeals has decided that Fitzpatrick “received ineffective assistance because defense counsel did not object to the court’s failure to abide by the plea agreement or to the prosecutor’s failure to correct the court’s mistake.”

Fitzpatrick admitted that he severely beat 59-year-old Edward Kitto, then stole money from his wallet. Kitto received major injuries and was flown by helicopter to a Sioux Falls hospital. A few days later, he died from the injuries Fitzpatrick admits he inflicted.

However, Fitzpatrick says it wasn’t a case of killing for money. He says it started when Kitto called him some names and came at Fitzpatrick with his fists.

Clay County Attorney Michael Houchins says that the re-sentencing stems from  a misunderstanding. He says Judge Petersen said that the plea agreement that was reached was mandatory on the court. But Houchins says that in this case, even though both parties were making the same sentencing recommendation, it was not binding on the court, and the court could have imposed another sentence allowed by law. The appeals court said that because neither side’s attorney objected to the misstatement, Fitzpatrick needs to be re-sentenced.

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