Looking for suspects in attack on former judge

........................................................................................................................................................................................

The New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau continue to actively work to investigate the aggravated battery of former 7th Judicial District Court Judge Thomas Fitch, which occurred at his business office in Socorro on Aug. 5, 2011.

The Socorro community was shocked last year by the assault on a man who residents described in a Chieftain article as a credible, knowledgeable, soft-spoken keystone member of the community.

On that Friday in 2011, Fitch was found slumped over the desk in his own office, severely beaten. Fitch’s wife, Polly Tausch, is the one who found him and called police.

In addition to his former judgeship, Fitch was a member of the Socorro Chamber of Commerce and served on its Board of Directors for many years.

He spent close to 10 years on the bench, presiding over the trial of Shawn “Popcorn” Popeleski in the infamous Torreon Cabin murders in 1995. Fitch eventually sentenced Popeleski to 16 1/2 years in prison in 2000.

The attack on Fitch happened in broad daylight, and New Mexico State Police said at the time that the assault could have happened as many as a few hours before he was discovered. Due to the injuries he sustained in the attack, Fitch had to undergo surgery at an Albuquerque hospital.

According to a release, the NMSP is soliciting the public’s assistance for any information pertaining to this case. Anyone with information on this case is urged to call the Crime Stoppers tip line at 505-843-STOP.

Individuals calling the Crime Stoppers tip line will remain anonymous, and a reward of up to $1,000 is being offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators of this crime.