Crime & Courts

Man sentenced to life in shootings

Frederick Fritz Jr. asked for a second chance in 20 years, but a judge said he should never get out of prison.

Sedgwick County District Judge Greg Waller handed Fritz, 22, a prison sentence of life plus 54 years in an apartment shooting last year that killed one man and injured two other people.

Fritz admitted killing 24-year-old Devon E. Cole and wounding a 33-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman in the shooting at Morgan's Landing, 3801 W. 13th St., in August 2009. Fritz also shot at another woman through the door of a bathroom, where she was hiding, but missed.

Fritz pleaded no contest in August to the crimes.

Waller sentenced Fritz to a life sentence for first-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder and five other criminal counts consecutively.

Public defender Lacy Gilmour had asked Waller to run the sentences concurrently, which would have allowed Fritz to be eligible for parole after 20 years.

Gilmour cited a combination of Fritz suffering from bipolar mental illness — which produced paranoia — and alcohol as contributing to the killing. Fritz had no previous criminal history.

A dozen members of Fritz's family and friends wrote letters on his behalf.

"Every day I live with the fact that I took someone's life," Fritz said. "I can only say I'm sorry from the bottom of my heart and soul."

Fritz worked as a welder for an aircraft company, but had recently lost his job, then his home, and his marriage was breaking up, Gilmour said.

"He started medicating himself with drugs and alcohol," she said.

Gilmour said Fritz couldn't remember what happened that night and may have been suffering from hallucinations caused by his mental illnesses.

Waller also heard from Cole's family and letters from the women whom Fritz tried to kill, speaking of the fear that has engulfed their lives.

"He may not want to go through the memory of the details of that night, but the families and these individuals still do," Chief Deputy District Attorney Kim Parker said. "And they will for their lives."

One woman was shot eight times, Parker said, after Fritz retrieved a gun from his car. She survived.

"The problem I have is that you reasoned," Waller said. "You had enough reason about you to go out and get the gun, come back and demand money of these people and start shooting these people."