Circuit Judge J. Michael Traynor imposed the life sentence on 43-year-old Christopher Linus Fries, for the September 10, 2011 murder of 29-year-old Paul Crookshank in the parking lot of the Gigglin’ Gator pub.
Fries was convicted by jury on Friday of first-degree murder with a firearm; a capital felony. The bullet, fired at point-blank range, entered behind the victim’s left ear and exited just in front of his right ear. The projectile was located underneath Crookshank’s head, in a pool of his own blood.
Assistant State Attorneys Jackie Roys and Travis Mydock prosecuted Fries. Roys presented the 911 call and testimony of employee of a neighboring business who heard the two men arguing and saw Fries pull out a revolver, point the gun up against the victim’s chin and threaten to kill Crookshank. The witness also said Crookshank had his hands up in the air and Fries had him pinned up against a fence.
When police arrived, they observed Crookshank on the ground and Fries kneeled over him, still holding the gun. When Fries saw the officer, he claimed, “He shot me”, but Fries had no gunshot wound. The only person who suffered from a gunshot was the unarmed victim.