Pharos-Tribune

March 14, 2014

UPDATED: Jury finds Fry guilty of murder

Sentencing hearing slated for April 14

By Amie Sites Pharos-Tribune
Pharos-Tribune

---- — A jury found Loren Fry, 78, Logansport, guilty of murder after four hours of deliberation Thursday.

Fry was charged with the deadly shooting of Dave Schroder, 76, Logansport, more than two years ago. A sentencing hearing for Fry is scheduled for 11 a.m. April 14. The murder charge carries with it a penalty ranging from 45 to 65 years in prison.

Schroder was found shot to death in his vehicle in an area east of Royal Center Pike on 275 North on Sept. 20, 2011. His vehicle was found parked partially off the roadway near buildings on land owned by Fry’s brother, Bruce.

Schroder was shot twice. A time of death was established at about 1 p.m.

Cass County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Lisa Swaim said she was pleased with the verdict.

“I believe justice was served in this case,” Swaim said.

There were a lot of people involved in the case, Swaim said — law enforcement officials from Cass County Sheriff’s Department, Logansport Police Department and Indiana State Police came together and did “an outstanding job.”

The jury trial began Monday in Cass Superior Court II. In its fourth and final day Thursday, three witnesses were called before closing arguments.

Those interviewed spoke of the investigation surrounding Fry, including details of the bullet taken from the scene of the crime.

Two spent bullets were recovered at the scene of the shooting. Officers could not immediately determine what kind of bullets were used, only that they came from a low-caliber firearm. Photographs of bullets were entered as evidence.

When Fry’s home was searched, many firearms were found, including one capable of firing low-caliber bullets — a .22-caliber revolver discovered loaded with four live rounds. Three .22-caliber magnum bullets were found in Fry’s pocket when he was taken into custody.

Stacey Hartman, a forensic scientist with the Indiana State Police, testified late Wednesday afternoon about her findings from the tests she ran of the recovered revolver, the four rounds in it and the two spent casings recovered from the scene.

Attorneys Matthew Barrett and Brad Rozzi represent Fry in the case.

While being examined by Cass County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Lisa Swaim and cross-examined by Rozzi, Hartman’s testimony reflected she could not conclude either of the two bullet fragments were fired from the recovered revolver, only that it was possible that they were.

Because the size of the bullets weren’t determined, only the fact they were low caliber, Fry’s gun wasn’t allowed as evidence.

In closing arguments, Cass County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Lisa Swaim told jury members that the case was about two men who didn’t get along in a rural area of town.

Swaim reminded the jury that she didn’t have to prove what the weapon was — just that Fry had access to it.

“When you look at the evidence, there is nobody else,” Swaim said. “I’m asking you to find this man guilty for a crime he committed.”

During closing arguments Thursday afternoon, Barrett asked if any of them had been falsely accused.

“That is what happened here,” Barrett said.

Barrett spoke of the heavy burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that Fry knowingly or intentionally killed David Schroder. He then told jury members that the circumstantial nature of the evidence in the case made forensics and ballistics testing important. There was no DNA or ballistics matching Fry to the scene, Barrett said.

“A wrongful conviction would be the worst crime in this case,” Barrett said.

Swaim responded by saying law enforcement was confined by evidence, but did have evidence — a lot of it.

Jury went into deliberation shortly before 4 p.m. after the closing arguments and reached a guilty verdict more than four hours later.

Barrett said he and Rozzi were disappointed with the verdict but would continue to “advocate on behalf of Mr. Fry in the appellate process.”

Pharos-Tribune reporter Mitchell Kirk contributed to this report. Amie Sites is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5117 or amie.sites@pharostribune.com. Follow her: @PharosAES.