Defendant back in custody in murder solicitation case

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times
Renee C. Johnson-Fritz

A woman facing a murder solicitation charge in Leavenworth County was back in custody Monday after she failed to appear for a bond revocation hearing.

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. The victim survived the attack.

Johnson-Fritz was released on bond March 26.

Prosecutors accused Johnson-Fritz of violating the conditions of her bond by mailing a letter to an inmate at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility.

Assistant County Attorney Megan Williams argued the judge in the case ordered the defendant at the conclusion of a March 8 preliminary hearing to have no contact with Kansas Department of Corrections inmates.

District Judge Gerald Kuckelman held a hearing on a motion for bond revocation Friday morning. That hearing was conducted using the Zoom online videoconferencing service.

Johnson-Fritz participated in this hearing.

During Friday’s hearing, Kuckelman ordered the defendant to appear in his courtroom Monday morning for an in-person hearing so the parties in the case could listen to a recording of the judge’s instructions from the March 8 preliminary hearing.

Johnson-Fritz did not appear in court for Monday’s hearing. Her attorney, Joel Rook, said he had been in contact with his client, who indicated she did not have a ride to Monday’s hearing.

Rook said he sent a message to Johnson-Fritz suggesting she try using the Uber ridesharing service.

Kuckelman said he was issuing a bench warrant for the arrest of Johnson-Fritz.

“I believe my order Friday was very clear,” the judge said.

Kuckelman also revoked the $100,000 bond Johnson-Fritz previously posted in the case.

Kuckelman set a June 11 hearing for the bail bonds agency that handled the bond to show cause why the company should not be required to pay the money.

County Attorney Todd Thompson said Johnson-Fritz later arrived at the Justice Center, where the courtroom is located, and she was arrested.

Undersheriff Jim Sherley confirmed Johnson-Fritz was custody Monday afternoon.

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