Preliminary hearing held for 20-year-old Layton man accused of killing roommate

Monday , April 17, 2017 - 2:55 PM

MAKENZIE KOCH/Standard-Examiner Staff

LAYTON — A Layton man accused of killing his roommate in December appeared in court Friday for a preliminary hearing. 

Christopher Scott Fritz is accused of shooting his roommate — 24-year-old Taylor VanCamp — multiple times Dec. 19 at their Layton home near 1350 East and 275 North.

On Friday, April 14, Fritz appeared before Judge David Hamilton in 2nd District Court in Layton. Fritz is charged with murder, a first-degree felony.

RELATED: Attorney for Layton man charged with murder wants preliminary hearing

A preliminary hearing is when prosecutors present the evidence they have in a case before a judge who then decides if there is sufficient evidence to go forward with the case as charged. 

Several witnesses and officials, including two women who lived in the house with Fritz and Vancamp, spoke at the hearing. 

"It seemed like an ordinary night," housemate Michelle Rowley said at the hearing. 

RELATED: Layton shooting suspect identified by police, accused of murder

Prosecutors said Fritz and Vancamp had worked a late shift Dec. 18 at Domino’s Pizza where they worked, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. When they came home, they played video games, watched a movie and drank alcohol for several hours.  

But the evening took a sharp turn when Vancamp and Fritz got in an argument about each other’s romantic interests, the Tribune reports. 

Investigators said the argument turned into a fist fight and wrestling, according to the probable cause of arrest statement.

RELATED: Layton homicide victim Taylor VanCamp remembered as goofy, loving man

At the hearing, Krista Whitaker, another woman who lived in the home, said the two burst into her room while they were fighting. According to Tribune reporting, Whitaker said Vancamp tried to hug Fritz to de-escalate the fight, and the two went back to their own rooms. 

Fritz told police after the fight he went into his bedroom and saw he had a black eye and bloody nose, police said in court documents. He then “snapped,” pulled a handgun out of a drawer, went to Vancamp’s room and shot him several times, police said.

Fritz’s father, who also lived in the home, ran upstairs and called 911. Court documents say Fritz told his dad, “I killed Taylor.”

"This is not a whodunit, this is a whydunit," Fritz's attorney Steven Shapiro said at the hearing. "It's an unspeakable tragedy."

Fritz initially told investigators that Vancamp pointed a gun at him, and he fired in response, court documents say. Later, he admitted Vancamp didn’t have a weapon.

When police arrived, they found VanCamp “on his bedroom floor deceased from multiple gunshot wounds,” according to court documents. 

The 911 call came in at 7:37 a.m., but investigators think the shooting happened earlier, just before 6 a.m., the Tribune reported. 

“Some of Friday's questions focused on whether Fritz and his father may have tried to alter the scene or come up with an alternate story of what happened between the shooting and the 911 call, perhaps trying to show that Fritz acted in self-defense,” the Tribune said. 

Fritz is being held in Davis County Jail in lieu of a $250,000 cash-only bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned at 9 a.m. April 26, according to court documents.

Contact digital producer Makenzie Koch at mkoch@standard.net, follow her on Twitter at @makenzie_koch or like her on Facebook at facebook.com/MakenzieKochSE.

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