By LeaAnne Klentzman
On October 17, 2011 Fisher, a 28 year-old Baytown woman was convicted of Aggravated Assault of a Public Servant by a jury despite her claim of insanity, said a representative for the District Attorney’s Office. Fisher was convicted for stabbing Stafford officer Leslie Claunch in the back during an incident at a Stafford bowling alley.
According to Assistant District Attorney Amanda Bolin, “Stafford Police Officers Kristi Hill and Leslie Claunch responded to the local bowling alley on February 22, 2008 just before 10:00 p.m. in reference to a “disturbance” involving an intoxicated man.”
When the officers arrived on the scene, they found Fredrick “Freddie” Syrett, who appeared to be intoxicated and quickly became combative when confronted. While the officers were dealing with Syrett, his girlfriend, Ginger Fisher, interfered, she was told to back off. When the officers attention went back to Syrett, he lunged at Officer Hill and a struggle ensued, said Bolin. Syrett was eventually subdued and handcuffed by the officers with the assistance of several bowling alley employees.
“As Hill and Claunch began to lead Syrett out of the bowling alley, Fisher attacked Officer Claunch from behind – stabbing her in the back/armpit area.” said Bolin. While severely wounded, Officer Claunch and bowling alley employees wrestled Fisher to the ground and placed her under arrest.
As a result of Fisher’s attack, Officer Claunch suffered a punctured lung and was rushed to the hospital where she had a painful chest tube inserted to save her life. Officer Claunch remained in the hospital for 5 days followed by months of rehabilitation.
Bolin said Fisher argued at trial that she was insane at the time of the offense. A defense that the State did not contest because of Fisher’s lengthy mental health history and a past diagnosis of bi-polar disorder. Other evidence introduced indicated that Fisher made multiple statements while being transferred to the Stafford Police Department and then to the county jail inquiring, “Did I hurt her? Because I think I stuck her in the kidney…that’s where I was aiming!” and “This is some ……..! That’s why I stabbed that ….. cop.” Those statements led officers to file charges of Attempted Capital Murder. When confronted with that, Fisher responded “It’s capital murder, right? So that means I got her good, right?” According to Bolin, the jury quickly dismissed the claims of insanity and found the defendant guilty as charged.
During the punishment phase of the trial, Officer Claunch and her family members were called to testify to the extent of her injuries and the serious physical and emotional impact that the crime had on her and her family. The defense called Fisher’s mother, an elementary school principal, who asked that the defendant be placed on probation so that she could receive mental health help. The jurors sentenced Fisher to 30 years in prison.
“There is no doubt that Ms. Fisher has some mental disorder, but she knew full well what she was doing and that it was wrong,” said Bolin. “Officer Claunch has spent her life protecting others, but this was an opportunity for the jury to protect her – to ‘protect the protector’, and they did just that with their verdict.”
Fisher must serve half of her sentence before she can be considered for parole due to the fact that a weapon was used to commit the crime. Assistant District Attorneys Amanda C. Bolin and Natalie Sarfin prosecuted the case. Q. Tate Williams represented Ms. Fisher.