Patterson Appeals Conviction To SD Supreme Court: ‘There was no evidence of a disciplinary event’

Patterson Was Sentenced in 2015 To Life In Prison For Death Of Adrian Peterson's Son

VERMILLION, S.D.– The Sioux Falls man convicted of killing former Minnesota Viking Adrian Peterson’s biological son appealed his conviction to the South Dakota Supreme Court. Joseph Patterson’s case was heard at USD’s School of Law on Monday, where the defense argued that there was no motive or evidence to support his conviction.

It’s been nearly two years since a jury found Patterson guilty of second degree murder, manslaughter, and aggravated battery. He was sentenced to life in prison for the death of his girlfriend’s son Tyrese Ruffin in October of 2013. At trial, the state said Patterson snapped when the 2-year-old wanted to change the channel on T.V. and administered four blows to his head.

South Dakota Assistant Attorneys General Paul Swedlund (left) said, “T.R. presented with brain bleeding, brain swelling, and retinal bleeding; a distinct trio of symptoms associated with trauma to the head.”

The defense claimed that Ty choked on a fruit snack that was found at the scene. They argued to the Supreme Court that there was a five minute gap, in which the state made up a theory of how Ty died.

Patterson’s Defense Attorney Mike Butler (right) said, “The motive gets connected to a fabricated event that occurred that day. There was no evidence of a disciplinary event. The actually testimony is to the contrary.”

The state also brought up Patterson’s past history at trial in which he disciplined other children. The defense argued to the Supreme Court that those should not have been admissible because they don’t prove motive.

Patterson’s Defense Attorney Ellery Grey (left) said, “The alleged victim in this matter was wholly unrelated to the children that were the subject of the previous acts and allegations of abuse.”

“How does it prove motive,” Justice Glen Severson asked the prosecutor.

Swedlund responded, “The motive here, your honor, is that when a child cries, this is how the man reacts.”

In closing, Patterson’s Attorney addressed the court. Butler said if the state can win their case based on evidence ‘let them, but don’t let them do it this way’.

As procedure, the Supreme Court will hand down a decision at a later date.

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