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The Denver Post (CO)
February 16, 2005
Author: Kieran Nicholson ; Denver Post Staff Writer
Golden – Troubled teenager Michael Fitzgerald had planned to kill his parents by drugging their drinks before the violent encounter that left his father dead, a Westminster police detective testified Tuesday.
Fitzgerald, 17, and co-defendant Michael Tate, 16, appeared in Jefferson County District Court for a preliminary hearing as suspects in the death of Steven Fitzgerald, Michael Fitzgerald’s father. They are charged as adults and are being held at the jail.
Police were called to 41-year-old Steven Fitzgerald’s home, in the 6400 block of West 114th Avenue, on Nov. 8 on a burglary call. Fitzgerald’s body, shielded by garbage cans, was found in the garage.
Steven Fitzgerald had bled to death after being hit on the head with a shovel and stabbed several times in the chest, officials said.
Michael Fitzgerald was worried that his mother or younger sister would discover the body and the cans were positioned to hide it from them, Detective Tim Wright said.
Wright described Michael Fitzgerald as a boy in a downward spiral who had stopped taking the drug Wellbutrin, prescribed to him for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The teen was grinding the pills into a powder he saved in a plastic bag, Wright told the court.
Michael Fitzgerald was “planning on putting the powder in his parents’ drinks to kill them,” Wright said.
Michael Fitzgerald was not living at home at the time of his father’s death. He and Tate are accused of breaking into the Fitzgerald home on consecutive days, Nov. 7 and 8, and stealing items including prescription drugs, compact discs and electronic equipment.
During the burglary on Nov. 8, Steven Fitzgerald apparently surprised the teens and they killed him, prosecutors say.
After Fitzgerald’s death, Tate was held at the Mount View Juvenile Detention Center, where he told another juvenile he was there because “he had killed some dude,” Wright said.
According to Wright, Tate told the other juvenile inmate “he had hit the dude in the head with a shovel and a friend he was with stabbed him several times.”
The day Steven Fitzgerald’s body was found, Michael Fitzgerald met his girlfriend in a park not far from the home.
She told Wright that Michael Fitzgerald was “panicked” and had been “depressed about his dad hitting him.”
In March, Steven Fitzgerald had received a summons for misdemeanor child abuse. A hearing had been set for December.
Staff writer Kieran Nicholson can be reached at 303-820-1822 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Record Number: 1245893
Copyright 2005 The Denver Post Corp.