Wendy Tucker said Friday in Prince George’s County Circuit Court she does not know if there is salvation for someone like William Fitts but, if so, she hopes he finds it.
Tucker stood only a few feet away from Fitts, 16, of Forestville who was sentenced to 60 years in prison for the Aug. 15, 2011, stabbing death of Tucker’s grandmother, 92-year-old Thelma Steele. Prince George’s County Circuit Court Judge Maureen Lamasney delivered the sentence.
“I believe in my heart my grandmother would not want to see him in hell even after what he has done to her,” Tucker said.
Fitts, who entered a plea agreement in April, was convicted on second-degree murder, first-degree burglary and felony theft charges, according to the state’s attorney’s office. After stabbing Steele during an alleged argument about family members, Fitts stole her cash and used her credit card to buy organic marijuana, the state’s attorney’s office says. He is recommended to stay at Jessup’s Patuxent Institute, a treatment correctional facility.
Fitts’ public defender, Gale Saccarelli, declined to comment and said his family is not talking to the media.
Tucker said Steele, Fitts’ neighbor, knew the teen ever since he was a young boy and that there were just as many pictures of Fitts in Steele’s household as there were of her own children. Deputy State’s Attorney Tara Harrison said she still does not know what motivated Fitts to kill Steele.
“It seems as if this woman took care of Mr. Fitts and treated him as her own,” Harrison said.
Tucker said her family had wanted Fitts to be charged with first-degree murder, but Harrison said that would require evidence of pre-meditation, which the prosecution did not have.
Tucker said Fitts had robbed Steele the previous February, a detail Tucker said Fitts admitted after his arrest in Steele’s murder.
Tucker said Steele likely let Fitts in her home on Aug. 15 because she thought he was in trouble and needed help.
“For me the biggest struggle through my faith in God is how do I forgive him?” Tucker said.