Thursday, December 21, 2000

Hamilton man guilty of murder

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — A Butler County jury convicted Lewis Patterson Wednesday of murder in the July 9 shooting death of a Hamilton man.

        The Common Pleas jury of 11 women and one man reached its verdict after deliberating for 12 hours over two days.

        Mr. Patterson could receive 15 years to life in prison for the murder conviction and will receive an added three years for committing a crime with a gun. Judge Keith Spaeth will sentence him Jan. 18.

        Mr. Patterson, 26, of Hamilton, shot Donald Downard, 34, during a drug deal July 9 on Beckett Street in Hamilton.

        Assistant Prosecutor Pat Moeller said during his closing argument Tuesday that Mr. Patterson shot Mr. Downard twice in the head because he was afraid Mr. Downard was going to leave in his pickup without paying for his crack cocaine.

        “This was pay or die, and Donald died,” Mr. Moeller said. “He was shot in the head like a dog in the street.”

        The case went to the jury late Tuesday afternoon.

        Two witnesses testified during the six-day trial that they saw Mr. Patterson fire his handgun at Mr. Downard. Another prosecution witness, a Butler County Jail inmate, said he overheard Mr. Patterson bragging in jail about the shooting.

        Defense attorney Drew Engel told the jury in his closing argument that the witnesses were unreliable.


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