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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Court filings say Fisher, father had a strained relationship

By Jason Stuart

Ranger-Review Staff Writer

Accused murderer Todd Fisher made his initial appearance in court Tuesday morning via video feed, with his bail set at $1 million and his arraignment set for Nov. 28, in what prosecutors are alleging is a case of patricide motivated by greed and a deeply troubled, contentious relationship between Todd Fisher and the victim, his father Wilbur.

According to the affidavit, Todd Fisher called police dispatch at 6:57 a.m. on Oct. 16 to report that he had returned to the home he shared with his father at 122 County Road 238 after being “on the river bottom for about two days” to find his father murdered, further reporting that Wilbur had been shot in the head. Todd also reported to dispatch that he found the side door of the house kicked in and his father’s safe broken into, suggesting an attempted robbery gone wrong.

However, according to the affidavit, when Dawson County Undersheriff Katie Mills arrived on the scene to investigate, she immediately began noticing discrepancies in Todd Fisher’s story.

In the affidavit, Mills testified that upon examination, Wilbur Fisher’s safe did not appear to have been “broken into,” as there were no pry marks or any other physical indications it had been tampered with. The safe was open, Mills reported, but it still contained numerous firearms, two small boxes filled with jewelry and personal documents, including Wilbur Fisher’s will, and nothing appeared to be missing from it. As for the side door to the home, Mills and other officers examined it and saw no evidence that it had been “kicked in” from the outside as Todd Fisher had stated, but instead found pry marks which seemed to indicate it had been pried open from inside the house.

Mills also conducted a cursory examination of Wilbur Fisher’s body, found lying face-up on an upstairs bed in a pool of dried blood, but according to the affidavit, she could not visually identify a bullet wound anywhere on his body, which she found to be incongruous with Todd Fisher’s statement that he had found his father shot in the head. The affidavit states that, “It was not apparent to on-scene law enforcement that the cause of death was a gunshot wound.”

After the scene had been secured, Todd Fisher agreed to an interview with Sheriff Ross Canen and Glendive Police Department Assistant Chief Jake Feist. According to the affidavit, during those recorded interviews, which took place over several days, Todd Fisher “repeatedly changed his narrative” about the events leading up to his supposed discovery of his father’s body.

The affidavit states that eventually during his interviews with Canen and Feist, Todd Fisher “admitted that the earlier narrative timelines he had provided were false.” He then told the investigators “I’m gonna have to put all the cards on the table now,” and proceeded to tell them that the previous narrative timelines he had given were “hogwash,” claiming that he left the home on Oct. 14 because he and his father “feared that CIA agents were out to get his father and his father encouraged him to stay away from the house for a while.”

Much of the remainder of the affidavit lays out possible motives for the alleged murder, suggesting both possible financial motives as well as a very troubled relationship between the father and son.

The affidavit notes that Todd Fisher admitted to investigators that he was aware that Wilbur Fisher’s will, which was in the safe, would go to his son as long as Todd survived him by five days. Todd Fisher stood to inherit the ranch, personal bank accounts, other items of value and a $60,000 life insurance policy in the event of his father’s death. Moreover, the affidavit states that Todd Fisher admitted that only he and his father had the combination to the safe, and he had “no explanation for the fact that the safe appeared to have been opened without force and the side door pried from the inside.”

Execution of a search warrant and “the defendant’s own statements” also confirmed to investigators that Todd Fisher was in possession of his father’s cell phone when he called 911 to report finding his father dead.

The affidavit also details several incidents dating back to late May of this year which appear to show a very contentious relationship between the Fishers, with statements from several witnesses to those incidents.

The affidavit alleges that on June 20, while Wilbur Fisher was a patient at Glendive Medical Center, Linda Salinas with Adult
Protective Services was notified by hospital staff that Todd Fisher “was refusing to let Wilbur come home from the hospital.” 

Furthermore, on June 28, Salinas met with Wilbur in the hospital, who showed her a statement from Wells Fargo that showed Todd had made some $10,000 worth of unauthorized purchases on the card. Wilbur stated that he had given his son his credit card, but did not expect him to make the charges that he did.

On July 10, two U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office interviewed a David Pines, who told them that Todd Fisher had told him that he was trying to have his father forcibly committed to a VA hospital so he “could get control of his father’s land and money.”

Another witness in the affidavit told Mills that he had worked with the Fishers up until August of this year, relating that Wilbur Fisher would often call Todd “really bad names” like “stupid, dumb, retarded and good for nothing.” The witness further told Mills that one time Todd Fisher told him that “he would not regret it when his dad was gone because if he was gone he could be alone.”

Reach Jason Stuart at rrreporter@rangerreview.com.

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