Information from WYSH Radio
The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals last week upheld the first-degree murder conviction of a man who killed his mother-in-law with a hatchet while his infant daughter was in a nearby room nearly seven years ago.
Robert Fritts was convicted in the March 2007 death of Teresa Busler, who died from multiple blows to the head from a hatchet and had a white paint-like substance sprayed on her face. Fritts and his wifeâ€”the victimâ€™s daughterâ€”and their infant daughter had been living at the familyâ€™s Andersonville home at the time of the murder.Â The baby was found unharmed in another bedroom when Buslerâ€™s husband returned home and discovered the grisly crime scene.
The case was somewhat noteworthy as prosecutors introduced evidence that Fritts was part of a group of so-called â€œjugalos,â€ or fans of rap group Insane Clown Posse. Insane Clown Posse band members often wear white, clown-style face makeup and their record labelâ€”Psychopathic Recordsâ€”uses a picture of a hatchet-wielding man as its logo. In his appeal, Frittsâ€™ attorneys argued that it was â€œimproper for prosecutors to submit evidence of his affiliation with the rap group or suggesting that the band or its followers were a gang.â€ He also argued there was not sufficient evidence to establish that Buslerâ€™s murder was premeditated.
The Appeals Court this past Monday rejected both of those arguments and upheld both Frittsâ€™ conviction and his sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
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