Inmate pleads not guilty to solicitation of murder

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

A Kansas Department of Corrections inmate who has been identified as a member of the Aryan Brotherhood pleaded not guilty to soliciting the murder of an inmate at the Lansing Correctional Facility.

Frederick Fritz, 34, entered the not guilty plea to the charge of solicitation of capital murder during an arraignment Wednesday in Leavenworth County District Court. The arraignment came immediately after a preliminary hearing was conducted in Fritz’s case.

Frederick Fritz

Fritz, 34, is accused of ordering the murder of an LCF inmate in 2019.

Fritz was an inmate at the El Dorado Correctional Facility at the time. But he is alleged to have sent a letter soliciting the murder to his wife. His wife, Renee Johnson-Fritz, allegedly forwarded a portion of the message to an inmate at LCF.

The intended victim reportedly was attacked by two inmates April 9, 2019, at the Lansing prison. He was stabbed multiple times but survived.

Johnson-Fritz also faces a charge of solicitation of capital murder.

A Kansas Department of Corrections website indicates Frederick Fritz was convicted in Sedgwick County of one count of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted first-degree murder, one count of aggravated robbery and four counts of attempted aggravated robbery. The crimes occurred in 2009.

Witnesses called to testify by Assistant County Attorney Megan Williams during Wednesday’s preliminary hearing said Fritz holds a leadership position in the Aryan Brotherhood of Kansas.

James Griffitts, special agent with the Kansas Department of Corrections, said Fritz sent a letter to his wife giving the order to attack the victim, who also was associated with the Aryan Brotherhood.

In the letter, Fritz expressed anger at the victim for screwing up and wrote that the inmate “is to be crossed out immediately,” according to the testimony.

The letter was dated March 21, 2019.

“The letter was rewritten and forwarded,” Griffitts said.

He said a portion of the letter was found in the cell of an LCF inmate who allegedly stabbed the victim during the April 9, 2019, attack.

Tayler Clark, a special agent supervisor for the Kansas Department of Corrections, testified that Johnson-Fritz had contacted the LCF inmate through an electronic messaging system for prison inmates.

Clark said Johnson-Fritz also communicated through Facebook messages with a sister of the LCF inmate.

At the conclusion of the preliminary hearing, District Judge Gerald Kuckelman ruled there was sufficient probable cause to bind over the defendant for arraignment.

Fritz indicated he was ready to proceed with the arraignment and pleaded not guilty.

Fritz continues to be housed at the El Dorado Correctional Facility, but he was transferred to the Leavenworth County Jail so he could appear Wednesday for his preliminary hearing.

Fritz has chosen to represent himself in the criminal case.

Kuckelman asked the defendant to sign a waiver of his right to legal counsel.

“You understand that it is never advisable to represent yourself?” Kuckelman said.

Kuckelman later said he would appoint an attorney as standby counsel to help Fritz review materials provided by the prosecution as part of the discovery process.

Fritz said computer discs and flash drives with discovery materials were sent to him. But he was not allowed to have the discs and flash drives because they are considered contraband at the El Dorado Correctional Facility.

Kuckelman said he would try to arrange for Fritz to view and listen to video and audio evidence from the case before he is returned from the county jail to prison.

Fritz is next scheduled to appear in court May 28 for a pretrial conference.

Johnson-Fritz, 44, also had an arraignment Wednesday following a March 8 preliminary hearing, according to court records.

Renee Johnson-Fritz

She pleaded not guilty Wednesday. Her next court appearance is scheduled for May 26.

She is represented by defense attorney Joel Rook.

Johnson-Fritz is in custody at the Leavenworth County Jail as a result of the solicitation of capital murder charge she faces.

County Attorney Todd Thompson said his office is still reviewing possible charges against the two inmates who allegedly attacked the victim.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR