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“YOU NEED TO GET THIS TO THE FBI”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Nov. 8, 2010) —At approximately 7:45 p.m., The Post & Email received a call from Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III at the Monroe County detention facility where he has been held since October 27 without bond for allegedly failing to appear at a hearing in Monroe County court. This call was different from any other phone call we have received from Fitzpatrick to date.
MRS. RONDEAU: Hi, Walt.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: Hi, Sharon. Do you have your recorder going?
MRS. RONDEAU: I do. I just put it on.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: This is supremely important. This is big, big, big, BIG.
MRS. RONDEAU: Make sure you speak really loudly.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: OK, I’m going to do my best. In July of this year, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department arrested a suspect in the murder of Jim Miller. Mr. Miller was murdered between 1:00 and 8:00 on the 17th of July of this year, 2010. This man was brought into the Monroe County jail. While he was in the Monroe County jail in July of 2010, he bragged to the other inmates that he was the shooter, one of two shooters, in the death, the murder of Jim Miller. This is a break in the case, this is a lead in the case, and you need to get this to the FBI. You need to type this up tonight and print it.
MRS. RONDEAU: OK.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: The man’s identity is known. I know an identity, and a description is available. More information can be made available to the FBI, but it can’t be made available over the phone, OK? This person was released. Sheriff Bivens released this individual, this person of interest, for who knows why, but they let him go. I do not know at the time of his release who had the investigation at the sheriff’s department, but they let this man go. He’s on the loose tonight. He seems to be in Loudon County. As I say, there is a physical description, but this man has bragged to inmates that he was one of two men who shot Jim Miller dead on the 17th of July of 2010.
I don’t want to go into any more detail than that over the phone. The FBI needs to be alerted to this as soon as you can. You can print this up and put it out tonight as a lead. There’s a lead, there’s a man who has identified himself as one of two shooters, and the sheriff let him go in July. The information is rock-solid. More information is available to potential law enforcement if they could get on the scene.
MRS. RONDEAU: Now when you say “federal law enforcement agents are on the scene,” is that as you’re speaking to me right now?
LCDR FITZPATRICK: No, they’re not here. When they arrive, when we have an FBI agent arrive, or agents, I can be more detailed about what happens next as far as finding this person and pursuing an investigation.
MRS. RONDEAU: So an FBI agent needs to go out and interview you.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: Yes. This person was incarcerated in the Monroe County jail and he was released; the sheriff released him. And while he was incarcerated, he made quite a stir here; he was telling others around him, bragging about the fact that he was one of two shooters.
MRS. RONDEAU: I see. And you don’t have any reason to believe that the guy was drunk and just saying it or anything like that?
LCDR FITZPATRICK: Oh, no, oh, no, oh, no, no. I’m very clear about this, and it’s a really big deal, and as I say, I can’t say more on the phone without, you know… There needs to be a scheduled response to this, and when they arrive, I’ll look up another federal agent who needs to be involved, and we’ll go from there.
MRS. RONDEAU: OK. I have the number of somebody I can call tonight, and I also have his email. So I’ll get this to him right away.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: OK, and you can put this up as a breaking story at The Post & Email. There is a suspect; he was bragging back in July; the sheriff released him…So I’ll leave it at that.
MRS. RONDEAU: You probably can’t say why the sheriff released him. You probably wouldn’t even know…?
LCDR FITZPATRICK: The report that I’ve received said “for lack of evidence.” I don’t believe that myself, but that’s what I’ve been told.
MRS. RONDEAU: Nevertheless, this is something you have to report.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: Yes.
MRS. RONDEAU: It has to do with a homicide.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: Yes, Jim Miller. So I’ll go from there. When those guys show up, we have that aspect that this is huge. It’s a very big deal, and it’s your catch.
MRS. RONDEAU: OK. I’m going to get the story out, and I’m going to call this guy at the FBI right away.
Editor’s Note: Local news coverage last July stated that a Monroe County Sheriff’s Department captain had been suspended briefly and then cleared in the death of Mr. Miller.