Murder Case : Man Jailed for 2 1/2 Years Is Acquitted

Times Staff Writer

After spending 2 1/2 years in jail, a Utah private investigator was acquitted Thursday of charges that he fatally shot a Glendale businessman for a fee in 1986.

The six-man, six-woman jury found Robert N. Goode, 29, not guilty of charges of first-degree murder for financial gain in connection with the slaying of Frank Fitzpatrick, a telephone equipment store owner.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Barbara Murphy alleged during the five-week trial in Pasadena Superior Court that Goode received money from the slain man’s business partner, identified as Connley Davidson of Irwindale.

Goode had worked for Davidson as an investigator on separate matters. Davidson has not been charged with any involvement in the slaying of Fitzpatrick.


During a preliminary hearing in February, 1987, a ballistics expert testified that the bullets that killed Fitzpatrick were fired from a gun later found at Goode’s home in Orem, Utah.

Goode, testifying on his own behalf at the trial, said he was in the Los Angeles area but that the gun was not in his possession on the day Fitzpatrick was killed.

Goode had been held without bail in Los Angeles County Jail since his arrest in June, 1986. No other arrests have been made, and police are continuing their investigation.

Fitzpatrick, 47, was shot five times Jan. 13, 1986, as he walked to his car in a parking lot behind his business at 215 N. Central Ave.

Steven Kaplan, deputy public defender, said there were “tremendous discrepancies” in the testimony of the prosecution witnesses, who were admitted rock cocaine users. The witnesses had claimed that Goode confessed to the slaying and that they had seen him receive money in payment for the crime.

The defense attorney said Goode’s wife has been working in the pits of a Utah steel mill to support herself and their son during the long wait for trial.

Had he been found guilty, Goode could have gotten the death penalty because the charge carried a special circumstance allegation that he was lying in wait for Fitzpatrick at the time of the shooting.