Bolton students react to classmate charged with murder

Zachary Perry
Zachary Perry

Many kids at Bolton High School had trouble concentrating on their classes Monday.  Many admitted they spent the day talking about senior Zachary Perry, known as "Zach" to his friends, who is charged with the weekend murder of 19-year-old David Patten.

"He got into a fight with some guy," said Lee Dobster, a friend of Perry.  "(He) came back, took off his shirt, grabbed a knife, and just started stabbing him."

According to witnesses, he and Perry were fighting over a girl during a party, in the wee hours Sunday morning at a house on Jack Bond Road.

"From what I've heard, Zach went a little nuts," said Bolton student Melissa McLeary.  "But it's not unlike him to get angry and go do something stupid."

Sheriff's investigators say this time was different.  Perry is accused of using a hunting knife to stab David Patten not once, but several times.  According to arrest documents, Perry confessed to the crime.

"Now, you're looking at an 18 year-old in jail on a second degree murder charge, and a 19 year-old who's dead," said Shelby County Sheriff's Department spokesperson Steve Shular.

David Patten's family was too distraught to talk about what happened.  Meanwhile, back at Bolton, Perry's friends say they've learned a lesson: Stay out of trouble.  They're convinced Zach would take everything back if he could.

Perry is being held on a $250,000 bond.  He is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday.