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.
The resulting sentence will be the same come November 2, life without the possibility of parole, for a crime Tate committed at age 16.
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Look for a feature story on Michael Tate and other juveniles sentenced to life without parole in an upcoming Westword issue. -- Luke Turf