Patterson's murder trial delayed - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/12/10

Patterson's murder trial delayed because of discovery of Merimon's body

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By Ann Wyatt Little - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – How does the discovery of Peggy Merimon's body affect Mickey Patterson's murder trial for the death of Kay Harrelson scheduled to start June 1st? 

The trial is on hold both sides were supposed to meet Thursday for an evidence hearing. Documents filed at the court house reveal some of what lawyers wanted to present during that June trial.

Patterson is the man accused of murdering Harrelson and Merimon has been behind bars for seven months waiting for his day in court.  

"We knew pretty much on Saturday we were probably dealing with Peggy," says District Attorney Matt Powell at a press conference on Wednesday.

It's a discovery that will delay Patterson's murder trial, but Powell says the timing is good.

"No matter what happens in the trial we are glad for the Merimon family that they are able to bring their loved one home," adds Powell. 

"There will be new things that come out of this. Obviously given the publicity that's going to surround this now that Peggy's been identified it just was not appropriate for us to go to trial on June 1st," explains Powell.

Powell will push for a trial sooner than later, but the three and a half years Merimon's body spent outside will take more time to process.

"We'll probably do some additional testing on the body and what we found out there," says Powell.

The Medical Examiner's office used dental records to identify Peggy, but a final report answering the question of how she died could take months. Back in September, Mickey Patterson, a former Lubbock State School co-worker of the women, was arrested in Oregon and charged with two counts of murder. 

Documents filed at the court house shed light on what lawyers planned to present during that June trial.

A doctor was on the list to testify "regarding the legal definition of choking and-or hands being deadly weapon." An attorney who is not involved with the case says it is reasonable to infer the prosecution has a theory the cause of death is chocking. Another expert's testimony will include, "the polygraph examination and all related questioning of the defendant, Mickey Patterson."

 The attorney KCBD NewsChannel 11 spoke with says it is reasonable to infer Patterson took a polygraph test himself. The results are not public record.

Patterson's attorney, Richard Wardroup, requested a speedy trial and in that request wrote, "There is evidence that someone other than Patterson was involved in the death of Kay Harrelson, the alleged victim in this case, as the skin from an unidentified person, not Patterson, was found beneath her finger nails during the autopsy."

It could be months, or even a year before both sides present their cases in front of a jury.

"There are no greater jurors in Lubbock County and I think they make you prove something they are reasonable and impartial and so I think anyone could get a fair trial including Mickey Patterson," says Powell.

KCBD NewsChannel 11 left a message with Patterson's attorney. If there is a request to move the trial out of Lubbock County it will be from Patterson's attorney.

Law enforcement says other evidence was found near Merimon's body, but would not discuss what was found.

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