Life in prison without parole in shotgun killing

Posted: February 02, 2014

PHILADELPHIA Despite his lawyer's assertion that he should be acquitted because of his "good character," the owner of a West Philadelphia auto-repair business was found guilty Friday of first-degree murder in the shotgun slaying of his girlfriend in front of her family.

After listening to relatively brief closing arguments, Common Pleas Court Judge Glenn B. Bronson convicted Anthony Alexander, 62, and sentenced him to the mandatory term of life in prison without parole for the Feb. 26, 2013, murder of Jennifer Fitzpatrick, 37.

Asked by the judge whether he had anything to say, Alexander said, "This wasn't anything intentional."

He then addressed Fitzpatrick's relatives in the courtroom: "I'm sorry."

Bronson snapped back that the evidence proved the shooting was intentional, calling the slaying a "horrible and senseless, outrageous crime."

Alexander testified that the shotgun, which he said was tucked under his arm, fired after it slipped from his grasp and he raised his knee to keep the weapon from falling.

His lawyer, Andrea Konow, said the businessman had a reputation in the neighborhood as truthful, law-abiding, and nonviolent.

"Good character can prove reasonable doubt," Konow said in her closing remarks.

Alexander, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, came to Philadelphia in 1995. Over the years, he built an auto-repair business and met Fitzpatrick, with whom he had a son.

The night before the killing, Fitzpatrick obtained a protection-from-abuse order. But at 8 a.m. the next day, an armed Alexander went to the family's house in the 500 block of South Yewdall Street, Assistant District Attorney Lorraine Donnelly said.

He soon confronted Fitzpatrick, who had just come back from driving two of her children to school and was parking on Cedar Avenue near 54th Street. Alexander approached, waving a pump-action 12-gauge shotgun.

Donnelly said that Fitzpatrick ran across Cedar, and that Alexander fired several shots at Fitzpatrick and chased her back to her house. There he menaced Fitzpatrick's 70-year-old father with the gun before shooting Fitzpatrick in the heart from a few feet away. Fitzpatrick's 17-year-old daughter and Alexander's 4-year-old son saw her death.

Donnelly called the shooting a "straight-up execution." Alexander, she said, "was out there like a lunatic with a shotgun in his hand."

Alexander was arrested a short time later at his garage at 47th and Brown Streets.


vclark@phillynews.com

215-854-5717

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