*Joseph Patterson, 29, was found guilty of second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter and aggravated battery by a South Dakota jury on Tuesday, in relation to his role in the death of Adrian Peterson’s 2-year-old son, Tyrese Robert Ruffin. Supporters and family of Patterson were outraged by the verdict, with some storming out of the courtroom and others cursing at the jury, People reports.
— Mark Roper (@MarkRoperKSFY) September 30, 2015
Deliberations took more than five hours, and followed two weeks of testimony about the October 2013 death of Tyrese. According to authorities, Patterson, who was the boyfriend of Tyrese’s mother, assaulted the child while the two were alone in an apartment. An autopsy found that the boy’s head sustained multiple blows, causing his brain to bleed, and doctors concluded the injuries were not accidental.
Patterson’s defense maintained the child choked on a fruit snack, and a doctor testified for the defense saying autopsy photos show injuries consistent with a child being given CPR after choking – but the jury wasn’t buying it.
“It makes no sense at all,” defense attorney Tim Rensch said, according to the Argus Leader. “Is it really possible for a man to know how to hit a kid so hard … and not leave a mark?”
A second-degree murder conviction carries a mandatory life sentence. Patterson’s sentencing will occur within the next two months.
Deputy Attorney General Bob Mayer said after the verdict: “We couldn’t be more excited and thrilled for Tyrese. He finally gets the justice he deserved.”
Adrian discovered the boy was his son about two months before his death. He met the child for the first time a day before he died.