Court of Appeals upholds Anderson Co. hatchet murder conviction

ANDERSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) - The Tennessee Court of Appeals upheld the first degree premeditated murder conviction against Robert Edward Fritts.

Fritts was convicted for murdering Teresa Busler in March 2007 in Anderson County.

Fritts was living in a home with his wife and infant child, along with his wife's parents, John and Teresa Busler.

When John Busler returned home from work on March 6, he found his murdered wife's body.

Prosecutors say Teresa Butler had been hit in the with a hatchet several times and white paint had been sprayed in her face.

They also say Fritts was part of a gang of "jugaloos," who are believed to be affiliated with the rap group Insane Clown Posse and their record label Psychopathic Records. The company's logo features a running, hatchet wielding man.

The rap group frequently appears in white-face clown style make up.

Testimony at the trial indicated that Fritts sported tattoos featuring the band or its record label. And he was wearing clothes related to Insane Clown Posse.

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

He also argued that there was not enough evidence to support that the killing was premeditated.

The Tennessee Court of Appeals rejected both of those claims.

Fritts is serving a sentence of life without parole.


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