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Charlestown man to continue to spend rest of life in prison for murder over $50 drug debt

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that Shawn Fritz got a fair trial and saw no reason to overturn a jury's verdict that he pumped five bullets into Albert Titcomb III's head in a Bunker Hill housing project hallway in 1994.

Fritz, 22 at the time of the murder, was found guilty in 1996 of first-degree murder based on "deliberate premeditation and extreme atrocity or cruelty."

Prosecutors convinced the jury that Fritz lured Titcomb, a drug addict, into the hallway with a promise of some angel dust, then fired repeatedly at close range because Titcomb was unable to repay a $50 loan for some drugs.

The verdict represented a major crack in what was then the neighborhood's notorious code of silence.

Two pals of Fritz's were found innocent.

Fritz's current lawyer, Rosemary Scapicchio, was unable to convince the state's highest court that any errors in the trial were more than minor mistakes that did nothing to affect the trial's outcome.

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Comments

I would say life for murder is a fair exchange.

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If anything, being willing to murder someone over such a small amount makes him even more dangerous on the outside. What are the odds that, over the rest of his lifetime as a free man, he'd encounter some kind of conflict over something at least as important as the loss of $50? Pretty much 100%. So, odds that he'd kill again? Not 100%, but way the heck up there.

Not that murdering someone over larger sums is exactly a good look either, but this is somebody who's ready to destroy another human being over the equivalent of a parking ticket. That's not someone who's equipped to handle daily life.

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It goes to show the senselessness of it and utter lack of judgment on the part of the defendant. Someone getting killed over say a $100,000 debt is, while not morally justifiable, certainly "understandable" to most people.

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It was $50.00

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if only he had committed his murder a couple of years earlier he probably would have never been convicted. everyone in "the town" knew who had committed many of the murders leading up to this one. mothers had to knowingly stand in line at convenience stores next to the men who murdered their sons. no one dared to speak up until this one. four junkies in a project hallway and only three came out, titcomb left lying in the hallway with four bullets in his head and no one knew anything?!? finally, after years of silence and bloodshed, a woman named SANDY KING had the courage to lead a charge that eventually flipped the code of silence within her charlestown neighborhood. ms king had stood by helplessly as two of her sons were murdered in separate incidents in charlestown. she knew the strength of the code and she knew half the people in charlestown knew who murdered who but were too frightened to speak. she founded the 'CHARLESTOWN AFTER MURDER PROGRAM' and slowly people stood up and talked. murderers were sent to prison. soon after, the petty heroin murders stopped and people were able to breathe again. sandy king died in 2011. RIP SANDY KING, fritzy's never getting out.

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I knew Albie Titcomb. He was my neighbor on Decatur Street. Albie was a decent guy who was trying to straighten his life out when I saw him last. He did not deserve what he got. Now his brother Richie, there's another story.

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Or just plain stupid?

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It's possible. Think if you would say that if the guy were sitting next to you at a bar ...

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If someone responded to the obvious sarcasm with that same kind of righteous indignation as dvdoff, then yes, I would say that to the person next to me at the bar.

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You seem to be both.

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I really don't think the poster seriously felt pity for Fritzy. I read that post as dismay that it took so long to break the culture of abetting murderers, and "poor Fritzy" as straight up sarcasm. Not even subtle sarcasm either.

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probably should have a pal or two rotting away with him. he's where he belongs.

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For those familiar with this story, I will keep it brief. My name is Mark Duggan and I am proud to be able to say that I had the courage to bring the Titcomb Family justice. I testified in this trial and to this day I am proud that I did. What I saw and witnessed was and is unacceptable in our society.

Back then the Code of Silence was very strong and anyone who dared cross that line was doomed. But for me it wasnt what or how I would feel and the fear of retribution but rather the commitment to do what was right. Mrs Titcomb, Mrs King and Mrs Enos deserved this and far more. It still pains me that Sandra and Pam never got the justice they deserved for their families

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He should've collected 1,000 cans. Boom $50 debt paid off right there.

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The Federal Government and the Massachusetts prison system failed to let the public know that they allowed a state prisoner on work release to conduct criminal acts including murder for several years in order to obtain convictions on certain people and to gain notoriety as the ones who broke the "Code of Silence". I do not condone the horrific things that happened, but for our government to knowingly allowing a state inmate (doing a life sentence) to commit murders and commit criminal acts while incarcerated makes them more crooked than the crooks. This fact has never been included in their telling of how they broke the ring. Many lives were and still are dramatically changed.

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