A Lubbock jury quickly returned a guilty verdict and sentenced Mickey Patterson to life in prison Friday for the murder of Kay Harrelson.
In closing arguments District Attorney, Matt Powell used a picture of Patterson broken into puzzle pieces to describe how the case has all the evidence, but one missing puzzle piece. That piece of evidence was DNA. "There is no physical evidence linking Patterson to the murders," Powell explained. Defense Attorney, Rick Wardroup argued that Mickey Patterson told alot of lies because they were fantasies he had but that it didn't make him a murderer. Wardroup also asked the jury to consider the lack of physical evidence in this case. Despite a lack of DNA evidence the jury deliberated for just under two hours before returning with a guilty verdict.
Over 30 members of the Harrelson and Merimon families sat in on the trial for the entire week and cried when the guilty verdict was read. "I felt like I had golf ball in my throat. I wasn't even sure I heard them right but I do feel a sense of closure," Peggy Merimon's husband said.
The jury listened to several character witnesses before returning with a life sentence. Patterson's sister and a life time friend took the stand for the defense. They described Patterson as a great father and friend. The D.A. brought in a woman named, Martha Markum who says Patterson abducted her 17 years ago and held her at gunpoint. "I escaped, but then he called me and said 'did I scare you. Well money can be replaced you can't just remember that'," Markum said. Markum said she worked with Patterson at Texas Instruments when she was twenty five years old and lied to her about a money scheme causing her to meet him late at night.
The jury returned with a life sentence at about 5:30pm on Friday and family members thanked detectives and officials who worked on the case over the last five years.
The trial concludes after 4 days of emotionally-charged testimony from eyewitnesses, detailed explanations from forensic scientists and technical analysis from cell phone experts.
The state collected forensic evidence from 50 items connected with the case including bloody sheets, cigarette butts, syringes, and soiled underwear - but none of the physical evidence could be connected to Mickey Patterson.
Patterson claimed to have had a sexual relationship with Merimon and that the two women had planned to have a sexual encounter with him on the day they disappeared.Patterson admitted to being alone with Harrelson and Merimon, but claimed they left his mobile home to meet another person by the name of Casey.
Peggy Merimon's brother in law made the victim impact statement and thanked the D.A.'s office for their work. "It's been a rough five years, but I just want to thank everyone from the DA's office and the detectives who helped our case. Peggy was an angel without wings and neither her nor Kay will ever be forgotten," Peggy Merimon's brother in law said.
Although Patterson was only found guilty in the murder of Kay Harrelson, Peggy Merimon's husband felt justice was served. "It was just as much Peggy's day in court as it was Kay's," Merimon's husband said.
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