Man charged in Marie Warren case, fiancee' says he's innocent

Frank Choate, 42, is charged with seven felonies

Here's a message left by a close friend of Frank Choate:

"I have know Frank since 1993, and I am aware of his criminal history.

T here are hundreds of thousands of people with the same history either already released or incarcerated that does not make them or him a psychopath.

O nly a psychopath could have done this, and Frank is not a psychopath. I can only hope he gets a fair trial, but I don't see that happening.

I don ' t know what the circumstances of the crime are or if Frank had any knowledge of it, but I do know he is not capable of something this horrific.

I am in no way saying Frank was a good citizen in his younger days, but it takes some lack of humanity to kill another person.

F rank has a con s cience , and he is not a monster .

E veryone that is now extending their hate towards the family needs to consider he has a 4 year old daughter who thinks the world of him .

H e was a wonderful , loving father .

W hy does she and the rest of the family need to be labeled evil ?

F rank has already been convicted of this crime .

T he law does not work in innocent until proven guilty , it works i n you are guilty unless you can prove you are innocent ."

On Friday morning, a Lapeer county judge charged the man police believe killed an elderly woman nearly five years ago.

Prosecutors charged 42-year-old Frank Choate in Lapeer County Friday morning.

NBC25's Dan Armstrong spoke exclusively with Frank's fiancee' and digs deeper into the past of the suspect.

Those who lived with Frank Choate say he did not do this and could not do this. They say he was never on the run. He lives two blocks from the Sanilac County Sheriff's Department.

Choate sits inside the Lapeer County Jail on a million dollar bond after being arrested Wednesday at his Sandusky home.

The prosecutor charged him with home invasion, stealing guns, obstruction of justice, among other offenses relating to the murder case of Marie Warren who was killed in Lapeer County's Deerfield Township in 2006.

"At this point in time, we clearly have him linked to the scene and linked to that kind of criminal activity, which leads us to be fairly comfortable that we have him involved and implicated in the homicide as well," says Lapeer County Prosecutor Byron Konschuh.

This is not Choate's first brush with the law.

In 1988, he served time for receiving and concealing stolen property in Sanilac County.

Two years later, he pleaded guilty to larceny of a person in Lapeer County.

Then in 1992, he assaulted a prison employee in Chippewa County.

"Because of his past, he has tried his hardest to rebuild his reputation and he's tried everything he can to make things right," says Shawna Capozzo, fiancee' of Frank Choate.

Shawna Capozzo lived with Frank and says they were going to get married. "He's got a heart of gold. Just because he looks rough and tough, he isn't. He would never hurt anybody, never."

She says he reformed his ways and was a good family man to her children and his four year old daughter.

"They have the wrong man, and they're wrecking our lives," says Capozzo.

Those that lived with Frank Choate say they hope they find the killer and that justice is served.

Choate will be back in court Tuesday for a pre-exam conference.

The prosecutor has not charged him with murder. He says, he's still putting those puzzle pieces together. Those with information should call 810-245-1382.