The case against Jonathan Fitzgerald took an interesting twist Friday as CMPD Chief Rodney Monroe took the witness stand. Monroe was called to answer questions regarding the crime reality show "The First 48". At issue is the video that the production crew took during the course of the investigation.
Video from WCNC News Channel 36
Jermey Smith the attorney representing Fitzgerald is asking the court to order "The First 48" TV show to turn over its video footage of a police investigation that led to his client's arrest.
Smith says he believes the program has video of the crime scene, investigative interviews and the capture of his client in Cabarrus County.
According to the "Local Paper" during Friday's court hearing, a series of police officers including Chief Rodney Monroe testified about the department's arrangement with "The First 48" and about the videographers' work in the investigation of Chavez's slaying.
Fitzgerald's attorney argued that his client is entitled to review all evidence gathered by police, and that he considers the footage shot by The First 48 as possible evidence.
But Michael Sheridan, the show's co-executive producer, testified "The First 48" would not release its footage to either the defense or prosecution.
Superior Court Judge Eric Levinson is expected to decide next week whether "The First 48" must turn over its video.
In documents, lawyers for the TV show disclosed details about the murder investigation and questioning by police of Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald, they say, acknowledged that he and his girlfriend met Chavez to purchase drugs from him, but lacking money, intended to rob him if he would not agree to trade the drugs for a cell phone.
"Mr. Fitzgerald admitted that he brought a knife to the meeting and stabbed Mr. Chavez during a physical struggle while he attempted to rob Mr. Chavez of his drugs," the documents say.
The court papers also say that Fitzgerald told officers he'd messed up, then asked: "Do we have the death penalty in North Carolina?"
"When the officer answered in the affirmative, Mr. Fitzgerald responded, 'Can I ask for it?' "
The episode concerning Fitzgerald was scheduled to air last Thursday but was pulled at the last minute without explanation.
Cedar Posts has learned that Fitzgerald's girlfriend Danielle Holmes has reached a tentative deal with prosecutors for her testimony against Fitzgerald. While Fitzgerald remains behind bars, Danielle Holmes has been out on bail since December.