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Man sentenced to life in 2012 murders of pregnant girlfriend, unborn child in Philadelphia

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PHILADELPHIA — A man has been convicted of first- and third-degree murder in the shooting death of his pregnant girlfriend in the basement of her south Philadelphia home more than three years ago.

Jurors returned the verdict Friday on their fourth day of deliberations in the case against Aaron Fitzpatrick, 22, convicting him of first-degree murder in the February 2012 slaying of 24-year-old Tiffany Gillespie and third-degree murder in the death of her unborn child.

Common Pleas Judge Steven Geroff immediately imposed concurrent life prison terms without possibility of parole, The Philadelphia Inquirer (http://bit.ly/1Eu8bXq ) reported.

"I don't understand what was going through your mind," he said. "I don't know what possessed you to shoot this lady in the back of the head, but that's all on you."

Fitzpatrick frowned and shook his head from side to side after hearing the verdict, but declined to speak when offered an opportunity to do so. Defense attorney Stephen Patrizio said he didn't know whether an appeal was planned.

Authorities said the defendant gave two statements to homicide detectives characterizing his actions as stemming from frustration in a long, increasingly dysfunctional relationship.

He said she had called him at about 1 a.m. and told him to come to the house so they could argue.

"I didn't want to argue with her, so I shot her in the head and left," Fitzpatrick said, according to investigators.

At trial, Patrizio challenged the circumstances under which the statement was given and also focused on drug use by the victim.

Jurors, who had indicated Thursday that they were deadlocked on all but two charges, also convicted Fitzpatrick on two firearms counts


Information from: The Philadelphia Inquirer, http://www.inquirer.com

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