The following "You Be The Judge" three part series was broadcast by WAFB-TV in Baton Rouge, Louisiana between November 6 and November 8, 2001.  The results of the interactive survey are included below. 
 

art One

For more than nine years, the brutal attack on a soldier's wife inside a small motel room outside Leesville, Louisiana has prompted many people to form their own opinion. But what really happened inside room 145 that night is still a mystery. 37-year-old Kevin Fitzpatrick is serving 60 years in the Louisiana prison system. 
 

n the summer of 1992, he was an admitted party-boy, the son of well-to-do parents. He dreamed of being in special forces, but today a teacher who met Kevin through a program run to help prisoners, is fighting to get the system to look at what he says are gaping holes in the evidence that convicted Kevin. 

The day we met high school teacher Merkel Dupuy it was hot and muggy inside the church where he serves as Choir Director. But he barely noticed the heat as he passionately argues Kevin Fitzpatrick's innocence. 

"This young man has spent ten years in there...has wasted ten years of his life...and he is innocent of this crime...how can you every repay a young man for ten years of his life under these conditions", says Merkel. 

Here at the Avoyelles correctional center, 37-year-old Kevin Fitzpatrick, a former soldier, has never stopped fighting for the testing he says will prove him innocent. 

"I'm facing 100-something years in prison. They didn't test anything, nothing" says Fitzpatrick,"There's no physical evidence, no forensic evidence, no witnesses saying I committed this crime."  

It was July 1st, 1992 when Kevin met a friend of his, Connie Young at the Night Heat bar along highway 170 just outside Fort Polk where Kevin was based. He says the two drove in Connie's car to the Sandman Travel inn, where Kevin had checked into room 145, planning to leave late that night for Lake Geneva, Wisconsin for the 4th of July weekend. He says Connie said friends were going to pick her up here, and she had agreed months earlier to let him use her car to drive to Wisconsin. 

"So I said all right, I'm gonna take a shower and get ready to go because I like driving at night, and there's no traffic at night and it's an 18-hour drive", says Fitzpatrick. "While I was in the shower she said, they're here, when I got out of the shower, she was gone, I got dressed in my BDU's and left." 

That was about 1 a.m. But he didn't leave town right away, Kevin says he drove back to the Night Heat bar in Connie's car and couldn't find a place to park. So he went to a convenience store for a chicken dinner, got gas, started out on his trip, but, then, returned to the hotel lobby just after 3 a.m., where a night clerk says she gave him a new key to the room. 

But as he got back in his car, he says he found the bracelet and so drove on to Wisconsin, never going back to the room. When Wisconsin sheriff's deputies he had grown up with arrested him the next night in Wisconsin, Kevin says he had no idea that police in Louisiana were collecting bloody evidence from a gruesome scene in room 145 where Connie Young had been beat up and nearly strangled. 

"All my friends who I play softball with, all sheriffs and stuff, draw down shotguns on me and tell me I'm being charged with attempted murder and armed robbery of Connie Young in Louisiana", says Fitzpatrick. 

Connie Young lived through the attack and Kevin Fitzpatrick's legal problems started right from his arrest. His family has paid for all five of his attorneys, shelling out more than 100-thousand dollars for numerous appeals. Some criticize his first attorney for filing no pre-trial motion, visiting only twice with Kevin, and calling only two witnesses. 
 

art Two

For a 37-year-old man sitting in prison in Cottonport, Louisiana, an attack on a woman in 1992 has taken away his freedom and sent him to jail for 60 years. In Leesville, prosecutors say he's the man who strangled a woman, left her for dead, and drove her car to Wisconsin.  

In part one, you read Kevin Fitzpatrick's version of the night his friend Connie Young was brutally attacked. Connie Young tells a very different story about what happened in room 145 at the Sandman Travel inn the night of July 1st, 1992. 

Prosecutor Edwin Cabra argued her case in the summer of '93 in the Vernon parish courthouse. "It was one of the stronger cases we've had in many years", says Cabra. 
 

Connie Young says she was surprised to see Kevin in the Night Heat bar that night, but agreed to give him a ride to his hotel room because they were friends. When she got there, she says they talked in the car for a little while and, then, went into the motel room. She says he asked her to go swimming, but she said no. 

"I got up to leave the room, and felt a push from behind", says Young. It was what turned out to be four stabbings to her back and a telephone cord around her neck, strangling her as she fought for her life. Then she blacked out. 

The night clerk says at about 1 a.m. on the morning of July 2nd, 1992, an alarm went off in the front lobby, indicating the telephone cord had been pulled out of the wall. She went to room 145, where a male voice from behind the door said everything was okay. At 1:30 a.m., the alarm went off again. She went and checked, and again a male voice said no problem. Then, the alarm went off a third time. This time, the night clerk turned the alarm off at the desk. Just after 3 a.m., the night clerk says when Kevin came into the lobby in his military uniform, she saw no blood, and no marks or scratches on his body.

"Most of the attack took place from her back", says Cabra, "And that being the case, she could have very well been struggling and ripped her fingernails on the carpet, the wall, anything else." This allowed prosecutors to argue that Connie could have fought back without wounding or getting blood on her attacker. 

The Vernon parish authorities did test the telephone and phone cord for fingerprints. None of Kevin Fitzpatrick's prints showed up. But, they never tested the bed sheets or any of the blood in the room. Authorities believed that Connie's word and Kevin in her car with her purse was enough to finger him as the suspect. 

"She's making me a perpetrator of a crime I did not commit", says Fitzpatrick,"She's placing me at the scene of a crime I was not at."

After a 4 day trial, the jury deliberated for 4 hours and found Kevin Fitzpatrick guilty of both attempted first degree murder and armed robbery. But, at the sentencing, the judge threw out the attempted murder charge, still sending him to jail for 60 years. 

The recommended sentence for first offense armed robbery is only 5 years. Kevin Fitzpatrick has since appealed all the way to the state supreme court and a series of late filings by various attorneys has contributed to his losing all appeals. 

In part three, we'll show you some curious inconsistencies in Connie's story, and why Kevin is adamant that DNA testing will clear him.
 

art Three

For the last two nights, we've brought you two completely different accounts of a brutal attack on a woman in Leesville, Louisiana. The incident has put Kevin Fitzpatrick behind bars for 60 years, with no chance at parole. Since Wednesday night's story, in our 9-News internet poll, 33-percent of you say Kevin is guilty, 37-percent say he's not guilty and 30-percent aren't sure. This is  your last chance to make up your mind. 

There were more than 150 pieces of evidence collected from motel room 145 and Connie Young's car...more than 100 of those offered at the trial....Now we take a look at some puzzling pieces of the story that are still missing today. As we look for who's telling the truth,  we invite once again that you be the judge.

 Kevin Fitzpatrick says Connie Young's story about a vicious attack in room 145 at the Sandman Travel Inn has changed too many times to hold up beyond a reasonable doubt. To police, Connie said she took off her clothes in Kevin's room and put on his t-shirt because she had urinated on herself. Yet in court....Kevin Fitzpatrick said,  "she testified she had a broken zipper, went in to the bathroom and changed and as soon as she came out of the bathroom that's when I attacked her. The bathroom is eight feet away from the bed in the room, there is no blood where she says I attacked her." 

On national talk shows, she says she was not wearing underwear, yet she testified in trial the underwear found at the scene was hers. She says she did not lend out her car to other men and yet another man's wallet found in her car pointed to a man who said she often lent her car out. After four years at Angola, and more than five years in Avoyelles, Kevin Fitzpatrick has fought long and hard to answer the question that most people are left with...why would Connie Young make up a story and falsely accuse him of having done this crime?" 

 Fitzpatrick said, "either she's seriously afraid of whoever did this or trying to protect her marriage. She's got two guys living at her house, a husband in Germany, another guy's got her car, now she's in a hotel room and got attacked, so her husband's gonna find out about that, I think she just used me."  Leesville authorities privately admit that Connie's credibility has problems....but they point to evidence like atm records showing Kevin tried to use her atm card on the way to Wisconsin...Kevin counters that he had found cards all over the car, and put them in his wallet...and that when he picked up her card mistakenly, and his pin number didn't work, he quickly switched to his card. 

During the trial prosecutors pointed to these red-stained towels found in Connie's car...stains Kevin paid to have tested. Turns out they were clay stains from when he used them to wash Connie's car on the road. Leesville prosecutor  Fitzpatrick said, "she was in that room with somebody, and something happened, she was in the bed with somebody because the sheets were turned down, and all her bracelets were at the side of the bed, she was in that bed with somebody." 

WAFB's Julie Baxter asks, "is there any question in your mind at all that Kevin Fitzpatrick is guilty? Cabra answered, none."  A belief Kevin's most ardent advocate says comes from a prosecution team who simply never looked past Kevin Fitzpatrick for a suspect.  Fitzpatrick's friend, Merkel Dupuy said, "this is my creed..the young man is innocent and I'll not stop fighting until something happens." 

Kevin Fitzpatrick tells us he has made three different written requests to the district attorney's office for d-n-a testing of the evidence in this crime. When we searched the files, we found that none of those requests were in Kevin's criminal file. He plans to file yet another request. The Vernon parish sheriff's office says the bloody sheets that Kevin feels so strongly will show he was not at the crime scene, are still in the sheriff's office evidence room today. And we're told will not be destroyed. 

Connie Young is living in Aberdeen, Maryland. She has had several last names and we were not able to interview her for our story. Kevin Fitzpatrick is currently serving his time in the Avoyelles Correctional Center and while in jail has earned his real estate license, and a paralegal certificate. We understand that his latest attorney has again missed another deadline, this one in a civil case Connie has filed against the motel...the verdict in that case still pending. 
 




Innocent Imprisoned
Truth in Justice