For the charge of first degree murder, a Jefferson County jury found 19-year-old Michael Tate not guilty yesterday in the death of Steven Fitzgerald, but not because of Tate’s insanity defense. Tate’s relief was short-lived, however, because in the judge’s next breath she read the guilty verdict on the second count, first-degree felony murder, a charge Tate picked up because Fitzgerald’s death occurred during the course of Tate burglarizing the Fitzgerald home.
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The resulting sentence will be the same come November 2, life without the possibility of parole, for a crime Tate committed at age 16.
Look for a feature story on Michael Tate and other juveniles sentenced to life without parole in an upcoming Westword issue. -- Luke Turf