CHANCEFORD TOWNSHIP, York County — A York County man convicted of murdering his wife in 2015 cannot collect on her $500,000 life insurance policy, according to a ruling by a federal judge.
Instead, U.S. Middle District Judge John E. Jones III ruled that the money from AnneMarie Fitzpatrick’s policy should go to her two children.
Jones found that Joseph B. Fitzpatrick III, who was found guilty of murdering his wife by drowning her in a creek on their property in Chanceford Township in 2012, is barred by Pennsylvania law from collecting any money from that payout.
The federal court ruling was issued in response to Reliastar Life Insurance Group’s request for court guidance in resolving competing claims from Joseph Fitzpatrick and his children over who is the rightful beneficiary of the policy, which Annemarie Fitzpatrick purchased two years before her murder.
According to prosecutors, Joseph Fitzpatrick murdered his wife and attempted to make it look like an ATV accident. He was having an affair at the time, the prosecution said.
During testimony in the case, it was revealed that Joseph Fitzpatrick searched for information on “life insurance during the contestability period” on Google five days before his wife was killed.
Joseph Fitzpatrick was convicted by a York County jury in May of 2015, but the conviction was later voided by a county judge due to what he determined to be insufficient evidence.
The verdict was restored by a state Superior Court decision in April, and the state Supreme Court refused to hear Joseph Fitzpatrick’s appeal.
For that reason, Judge Jones ruled that AnneMarie Fitzpatrick’s two teenage children, who are listed as the policy’s contingent beneficiaries, are rightfully entitled to collect the payout.