A fifth suspect has been charged with crimes in connection to the murder of 49-year-old Kalispell resident Wesley Collins.
Joshua Fritz, 21, is accused of felony burglary, evidence tampering, theft and a misdemeanor charge of obstructing a peace officer.
Court documents allege Fritz’s involvement with a reported burglary at Collins’ apartment on April 17. After responding to the scene, police say Fritz and Robert Lake, 21, jumped out of an apartment window in an attempt to flee.
Lake and Jeffrey Nixon, 19, have been charged with beating Collins to death with hammers on April 12 to steal his medical marijuana and money. Their alleged accomplice, Cody Naldrett, 27, is accused of helping them hide Collins’ body in the woods near Kalispell.
Lake’s common-law wife, Karrolyn Robinson, 19, is also in custody on several charges connected to the case, including evidence tampering.
After jumping out the window, Lake and Fritz were arrested and questioned about the burglary.
According to court records, Robinson admitted to entering Collins’ apartment with Lake and Fritz to take the pot plants and other personal items. Robinson also told police that Fritz had Collins’ bicycle and cell phone and that he was staying at her apartment.
Police searched Robinson’s apartment and found numerous items belonging to Collins, including a flat screen television, tools, weight equipment and prescription medications.
After reviewing a text message sent between Fritz and Robinson, police also learned that Fritz had Collins’ cell phone but disposed of it during a foot pursuit.
Robinson has been accused of telling Lake’s brother to delete all of the text messages on Lake’s phone before she brought it to police. Police say she deleted the messages, as well as the messages on her own phone, knowing they had evidentiary value.
Fritz made his initial appearance in Justice Court on May 10 and is scheduled to appear in Flathead County District Court on May 27 for his arraignment.
If convicted of the charges filed against him, Fritz could be sentenced up to 40 years in prison.
Fritz is also scheduled to be sentenced on felony burglary and theft charges in an unrelated case stemming from an October 2009 incident and felony bail jumping for not appearing at his March 8 jury trial for these charges.
Lake and Nixon remain in jail on bond and have been charged with homicide, robbery and tampering with evidence. If convicted, they each face up to life in prison.
Naldrett is also in custody on criminal possession of dangerous drugs and evidence tampering and could be sentenced to 15 years in prison. Robinson, whose recent attempt to reduce her $50,000 bond failed, faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted on evidence tampering, burglary and theft charges.
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