Defendant in murder solicitation case ordered to appear in court
A woman who is charged in Leavenworth County with solicitation of murder has been ordered to appear in court Monday morning for a motion to revoke her bond.
Renee C. Johnson-Fritz, 44, is charged with solicitation of capital murder in connection to an April 9, 2019, attack on an inmate at the Lansing Correctional Facility.
Prosecutors allege the attack was ordered by Johnson-Fritz’s husband, Frederick Fritz, who is an inmate at the El Dorado Correctional Facility. Johnson-Fritz is accused of forwarding a portion of a letter she received from her husband to an inmate at LCF who then allegedly carried out the attack on the victim.
Johnson-Fritz was released on bond March 26.
Assistant County Attorney Megan Williams is alleging Johnson-Fritz violated the conditions of her bond by mailing a letter to an inmate in the Hutchinson Correctional Facility. The letter reportedly was intercepted by investigators.
Williams argues Johnson-Fritz was instructed at the conclusion of a March 8 preliminary hearing not to have contact with Kansas Department of Corrections inmates.
District Judge Gerald Kuckelman held a hearing on the motion to revoke bond Friday morning. The hearing was conducted using the Zoom online videoconferencing service.
Zoom is being used for many Leavenworth County District Court proceedings because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Johnson-Fritz’s attorney, Joel Rook, said the judge’s instructions to his client regarding no contact with inmates came about three weeks before the defendant was released on bond.
“I don’t recall the specific language,” Rook said, referring to the judge’s instructions.
Rook said it appears the letter sent by his client just discussed the present case.
Rook said his client was unaware she was prohibited from have contacting with all inmates.
The defense attorney said the no contact order was not listed on paperwork Johnson-Fritz received when she posted her bond.
Kuckelman said he is “very confident I advised her of that condition.”
The judge said his instruction would supersede information that was included on the defendant’s bonding paperwork.
Kuckelman proposed having an in-person hearing Friday afternoon to listen to a recording of the end of the March 8 preliminary hearing to determine what instructions were given.
Rook said he was unable to appear in court that afternoon.
“We’ve got to address this because this is a very serious issue,” Kuckelman said.
The judge scheduled a hearing for 8:30 a.m. Monday. He ordered Johnson-Fritz to be in the courtroom for the hearing.
“We’ll play (the recording) for everyone to hear,” he said.
Johnson-Fritz’s husband also is facing a charge of solicitation of capital murder.
Frederick Fritz is next scheduled to appear in court May 28 for a pretrial conference.