OGDEN, UTAH— In June 2019 Dalton James Aiken, 28, was sentenced to a term of 16 years to life in prison in connection with the shooting death of Brian Racine on August 16, 2018. Racine, a 28-year-old homeless man originally from California, had been sleeping at a homeless encampment outside of Ogden, Utah when he was shot once in the head by Aiken.
But Aiken had not been out at the homeless camp alone. Rather, he and his friend Cory Fitzwater had gone out together. They were on a mission, Aiken would later tell police: they were out to harass some homeless people.
Not long after Fitzwater and Aiken found themselves in jail in the wake of the shooting, they each made separate phone calls in which they accused the other of having been entirely responsible for the killing. But Fitzwater took things well beyond “normal” blame shifting, if there is such a thing in the context of murder. Prosecutors allege that Fitzwater bribed multiple uninvolved inmates to approach the police with their [totally invented] stories explaining how the other guy — Aiken — had confessed to them that Aiken had Killed Racine, and that he had worked alone. Also, they should add that Fitzwater was totally innocent.
That… didn’t work. And you can see why in our recent video “Jailhouse Snitch For Hire.” Turns out murderers aren’t necessarily good actors.
As of today, Aiken has been convicted, but Fitzwater’s trial is only just getting started, having faced significant delays due to a combination of Covid and substantially more challenging scheduling between prosecutors and defense expert witnesses.
Notably, Fitzwater tried and failed to secure compassionate release from the jail due to a particularly bad Covid outbreak at the facility where he is now held. Prosecutors argued that the greater community would only be safe with the alleged murderer locked away. (There was also the small matter of his alleged attempts in jail to “manufacture evidence, influence witnesses and obstruct justice” in relation to his case.)
Fitzwater stands charged with murder and obstruction of justice. This is the interrogation of Dalton Aiken.
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