Double homicide suspect Iraq vet

July 17, 2012 at 5:55 PM
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BLISSFIELD, Ohio, July 17 (UPI) -- Officials say the man suspected of a double homicide in Blissfield, Mich., is a decorated Iraq war veteran.

Thomas Jack Fritz, 38, has been charged with two felony counts of open murder and one felony count of assault with intent to commit murder. He is accused of the murder of his estranged girlfriend Amy Lynn Merrill, 33, and her pregnant younger sister, Lisa Michelle Gritzmaker, 24, as well as the non-fatal shooting of their mother Robyn Lynn McCowan, 52.

The shooting took place around 11:40 p.m. Friday in Merrill's home where Fritz had gone to discuss custody of their 2-year-old son, the Toledo Blade reported.

Gritzmaker was seven months pregnant when she died. Fritz could face additional charges for the murder of the fetus, the newspaper said.

Before the shooting, Fritz was a military police specialist and Iraq war veteran. He also served in the Ohio National Guard and the Army Reserve. He had been the recipient of the Combat Action Badge, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M Device and the Army Commendation Medal.

At the time of the shooting, Fritz was on parole following a 2007 conviction for a felony count of sexual battery. After serving one year in prison, he was put on parole for five, set to conclude next year.

The Blade reported Merrill ended her relationship with Fritz three weeks prior to the shooting. Afterwards, Merrill and her family reported Fritz was stalking her and sending her unsettling text messages.

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