First degree murder affirmed by Superior Court for Joseph Bernard Fitzpatrick, III

First degree murder affirmed by Superior Court for Joseph Bernard Fitzpatrick, III

York, PA

The Pennsylvania Superior Court has affirmed the left sentence of Joseph Bernard Fitzpatrick, III for the first degree murder of his wife Annemarie Fitzpatrick.

On June 6, 2012, emergency personnel were dispatched to 2288 Old Forge Road in Chanceford Township, which is located in York County, Pennsylvania. EMTs found Joseph Bernard Fitzpatrick, III and his wife, Annemarie Fitzpatrick , down near the shore line of Muddy Creek. Annemarie was unresponsive, but EMTs were eventually able to get a pulse and she was transported to the hospital. A short time later,  Annemarie was pronounced dead. Foul play was not suspected and the family began making arrangements;  Annemarie body was sent to the mortician for embalming.

Two days later, on June 8, 2012, the Pennsylvania State Police received a call from Rebekah Berry, who was employed by the same company as Annemarie. Employees at Collectibles Insurance had found a note in Annemarie’s day planner that they felt was “suspicious.” The note said, “If something happens to me—JOE.” It was dated June 6, 2012, and signed “A. Fitzpatrick.” 

On June 9, 2012, approximately two days after Annemarie’s death and after the body had been embalmed, an autopsy was conducted. Dr. Barbara Bollinger, the forensic pathologist, determined that the cause of death was drowning. Although she was not asked to opine on the manner of death, she did state that she thought the circumstances were “suspicious.”

From the point the handwritten note and email were found, the investigation turned from an accident investigation into a homicide investigation with the prime suspect being Fitzpatrick. Eventually, troopers discovered that Fitzpatrick was having a non-sexual affair with a woman named Jessica Georg, and was thinking of leaving his wife for her. When confronted, Fitzpatrick admitted to hiding Annemarie’s phone from the police in an effort to hide this affair. Troopers also discovered that Fitzpatrick would gain approximately $1.7 million in life insurance if Annemarie were to die. After searching Fitzpatrick work computer, troopers recovered two Google searches from around the time of Annemarie’s’ death. The first search, done on June 1, 2012, searched for “life insurance review during contestability period.” The second search, done on June 5, 2012, searched for “polygraph legal in which states.” This all led to Fitzpatrick arrest on March 6, 2014—approximately a year and a half after Annemarie’s death.

Fitzpatrick’s trial began on May 4, 2015. On May 13, 2015,Fitzpatrick was found guilty of First Degree Murder, and was sentenced to life imprisonment on the same day. 

 

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Don Shaw

Don Shaw journalist covering local news for The Pennsylvania Chronicle (717) 461-2107 don.shaw@pennsylvaniachronicle.com