MARTINEZ -- A Fairfield man was convicted Monday of first-degree murder for fatally shooting his best friend in Pinole in 2011.

Brian Fitch, 42, testified that he killed Jeff McCoy in self-defense. Jurors didn't believe it; they convicted Fitch of murder in the death of the 42-year-old San Pablo resident after just three hours of deliberations.

Fitch, who had walked into court dressed in yellow jail clothes and holding a Bible, did not visibly react to the verdict.

"Jeff was a good person. He would give anyone the shirt off his back," the victim's mother, Barbara McCoy, said tearfully after the verdict was read Monday afternoon. "I knew Brian was bad news.

"I tried to get him to stay away from Brian, but Jeff always kept his friends by his side no matter what," she said.

Fitch shot McCoy 10 times -- mostly in the back -- because he was paranoid that McCoy and other long-term friends were having sex with his wife, deputy District Attorney Mary Knox told jurors.

The shooting occurred as Fitch was driving McCoy around Pinole early on Sept. 6, 2011. McCoy was trapped in the pickup truck, Knox said, because the lock on the passenger-side door was broken.

McCoy's body was found in a street not far from Pinole's Fernandez Park, where he and Fitch had played Pony League baseball together as children in the 1970s.

After they both graduated from Pinole Valley High School, Fitch was married to McCoy's sister for a year.


Advertisement

Fitch cried on the witness stand as he testified that McCoy pulled a gun on him after he confronted his best friend about sleeping with his wife.

The jury also heard testimony regarding how Fitch fatally shot another Pinole Valley High classmate in 1992, also while riding in a truck. He was acquitted of the murder of Anthony Earl Davis at his 1993 trial after testifying that he acted in self-defense.

Fitch is facing a sentence of 75 years to life in prison at a sentencing hearing scheduled for May 23. His attorney said he will make a motion for a new trial at that hearing.

Contact Malaika Fraley at 925-234-1684. Follow her at Twitter.com/malaikafraley.