Father convicted of second-degree murder in 3-year-old's death

JoJo Patterson (Source: Family)
JoJo Patterson (Source: Family)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A jury handed down a guilty verdict for a father in the death of his 3-year-old son.

After sitting through a murder trial for four days, the child's mother said she's thankful for justice, and she's sending a message to other Memphis mothers.

"Anybody going through this--brother, father--y'all, please seek help because using a child is not worth it at all," Keara Brown, said.

Terry Patterson was on trial for first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse for what happened to his son, Josiah 'JoJo' Patterson, on September 4, 2015. The jury convicted him of second-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, voluntary manslaughter, aggravated child neglect, and aggravated child endangerment.

"I felt better that my baby could rest," Brown said.

JoJo had bruises and cuts all over his body when Patterson's girlfriend called 911.

Memphis Police Department said Patterson was feeding Josiah when the boy spit his food onto the sofa. Police said Patterson started punching the child in the head and face with his fist and then beating him with a belt and a buckle.

Patterson later told police he left Josiah alone, went to pick up his girlfriend and returned to the apartment. The girlfriend noticed the boy needed medical attention, but Patterson refused when his girlfriend asked him to take his son to the hospital.

Patterson and his girlfriend went to bed and the next morning they found the child unresponsive on the sofa.

"[smack] starts punching him in the head, a grown man beating a little kid," Assistant District Attorney Josh Corman said during the trial. "Then he brings out the belt."

Paramedics who arrived at the home said Terry and his girlfriend acted strangely. They said they were not emotional or distressed in any way.

Family members said Patterson had been granted custody of JoJo just a week before the child was killed.

Police said Patterson signed multiple photographs admitting to guilt.

"He told you that he was responsible for it," Corman said.

Divorce papers show that Patterson's ex-wife said he spent time in prison for statutory rape. She also said he was emotionally and verbally abusive to her and their children.

The divorce papers also show that in 1998 his former wife said their 2-month-old child suddenly died while in Peterson's care. A coroner said it was due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, but the couple's daughter said she saw Patterson shake the baby, throw it on the bed, and then leave.

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