Veteran legal protection lawyer appointed to signify Norristown man going through retrial in 1980 murder

NORRISTOWN — A veteran legal protection lawyer was appointed by a decide to signify Robert Fisher, the Norristown man going through a retrial on costs he fatally shot his ex-girlfriend in 1980, within the occasion Fisher doesn’t receive his personal lawyer.

Thomas C. Egan III, well-known in Montgomery County authorized circles, was appointed by Decide Todd Eisenberg to signify Fisher, in line with a courtroom order.

Earlier this week, Fisher, who was set to signify himself at his retrial, sought a delay as jury choice was about to start, saying he had a change of coronary heart and wished a lawyer to signify him.

Fisher, 75, who simply three weeks in the past advised the decide he wished to signify himself after having disagreements with two earlier court-appointed attorneys, claimed on Tuesday that he had been in touch with “a number of folks within the authorized group” who may be occupied with representing him if they’re compensated, including he wanted a couple of weeks to finalize that illustration.

Listening to no objection from prosecutors, Eisenberg granted the trial postponement however added he was going to nominate a lawyer to signify Fisher within the interim in case Fisher is unable to rent his personal lawyer. Eisenberg is predicted to carry a listening to later this month to set a brand new date for Fisher’s retrial.

Final September, Eisenberg declared a mistrial after a jury indicated it was “hopelessly deadlocked” and couldn’t attain a verdict at Fisher’s retrial in reference to the alleged July 10, 1980, deadly capturing of 26-year-old Collegeville native Linda Rowden, who was Fisher’s ex-girlfriend on the time, as she drove her automotive alongside DeKalb Road close to Basin Road.

It was the third evidentiary trial for Fisher after his earlier first-degree homicide convictions, at trials in September 1988 and August 1991, had been overturned by appellate courts.

Fisher is also the one particular person in Pennsylvania sentenced to loss of life 3 times and every of these sentences additionally was overturned by larger courts.

First Assistant District Legal professional Edward F. McCann Jr. and co-prosecutor Tanner Beck are dealing with the case.

Fisher, previously of the 600 block of DeKalb Road, is charged with first- and third-degree homicide in reference to Rowden’s loss of life.

Through the retrial, prosecutors are usually not looking for a loss of life sentence, however life imprisonment if Fisher is convicted of first-degree homicide, which is an intentional killing.

McCann and Beck have argued Fisher acted with intent when he fatally shot Rowden with a handgun that when belonged to Rowden’s father.

Veteran legal protection lawyer appointed to signify Norristown man going through retrial in 1980 murder
Accused killer Robert Fisher is escorted by sheriff’s deputies from a Montgomery County courtroom after looking for a delay in his retrial for 1980 slaying of Collegeville lady. (Photograph by Carl Hessler Jr.)

Prosecutors argued an offended Fisher killed Rowden to stop her from giving data to police that would hyperlink Fisher to the 1980 homicide of Nigel Anderson, a witness who had been scheduled to testify in a federal heroin case. Moreover, two days earlier than she was murdered, Rowden reported to Norristown police that Fisher assaulted her.

Fisher instantly fled from Norristown to New York Metropolis after the killing, modified his identify and took on a brand new id, in line with testimony. Fisher wasn’t apprehended till 1987 in New York.

Fisher was first convicted of Rowden’s homicide in September 1988 and was sentenced to loss of life. To win that conviction, prosecutors relied on Fisher’s earlier conviction in federal courtroom of violating Nigel Anderson’s civil rights.

In 1990, the state Supreme Court docket overturned the county homicide conviction after a federal decide overturned Fisher’s federal civil rights conviction.

Fisher was then retried for Rowden’s homicide in August 1991, convicted and sentenced to loss of life a second time.

Nevertheless, in June 1996, the state Supreme Court docket, whereas upholding the homicide conviction, dominated Fisher ought to obtain a brand new penalty listening to as a result of jurors at his 1991 trial had been improperly allowed to listen to sufferer impression testimony from Rowden’s mom.

After a brand new penalty listening to in June 1997, Fisher was sentenced to loss of life a 3rd time.

However in late 2019, U.S. District Court docket Decide Gene E.Ok. Pratter overturned Fisher’s conviction, ruling a county decide’s instruction on “cheap doubt” and an instance of the idea the decide recited throughout the 1991 trial was “constitutionally poor” and “fatally flawed” and that Fisher’s lawyer ought to have objected to the instruction. Pratter concluded Fisher’s constitutional rights had been violated by the instruction.

The U.S. Court docket of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld Pratter’s determination on Jan. 17, 2020, sending Fisher’s case again to county courtroom for the retrial.

Fisher’s 1997 loss of life sentence additionally was overturned with Pratter ruling the irritating issue relied on by prosecutors on the time was improperly utilized.