Conviction upheld in 2007 Anderson County hatchet murder

Conviction upheld in 2007 Anderson County hatchet murder

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CLINTON (WATE) - A conviction for first degree premeditated murder was upheld in the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Monday against an Anderson County man convicted of murdering his mother-in-law.

In March 2007, Robert Edward Fritts was living in Andersonville with his wife and infant child in a home provided by and shared with his wife's parents John and Teresa Busler.

Busler returned home on March 6, 2007 to find his wife gruesomely murdered. His infant granddaughter was alone in another room.

Evidence at trial indicated Mrs. Busler had been struck repeatedly in the head with a hatchet and there was white paint sprayed on her face.

Fritts was arrested and charged with first-degree premeditated murder.

The trial was noteworthy, in part, because evidence was introduced that Fritts was part of a gang of "jugaloos" or persons affiliated with the rap group Insane Clown Posse. Their record label Psychopathic Records' logo featured a running hatchet-wielding man.

The rap group performers typically appear in white clown style makeup.

Testimony at trial indicated Fritts had tattoos featuring the band or its record label, was wearing clothing relating to Insane Clown Posse, and wrote his own violent lyrics.

At the time of his arrest, Fritts' clothing had similar white spray paint and some of the victim's blood.

Fritts argued on appeal that it was improper for prosecutors to submit evidence of his affiliation with the rap group or suggesting the band or its followers were a gang.

He also said there was not enough evidence to prove the killing was premeditated.

The Court of Criminal Appeals rejected both arguments and sustained the sentence.

Fritts is serving life without the possibility of parole.

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