Investigator: Patterson said his gun was loaded and he had extra rounds in his pocket
UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Day 4 of the Christian Patterson trial got underway Friday morning in Oneida County Court in Utica.
Patterson is on trial for the fatal shooting in June 2011 of Oneida County Sheriff's Deputy Kurt Wyman.
With a courtroom once again packed to the brim with colleagues, friends, and family members of those involved, many spectators, including Oneida County Undersheriff Robert Swenszkowski had to take their seat in a larger, ceremonial courtroom across the hall from where it's actually taking place. In that larger, ceremonial courtroom, the proceedings were being televised.
On Friday morning, the first witness of the day was Captain Richard Antanavige, who resumed testimony he began Thursday afternoon. On the stan, Captain Antanavige said it was not he, but Sgt. Townsend, who determined the assignments for the officers at the scene. He said situations like the shooting are fluid and depend largely on the actions and response of the suspect.
Captain Antanavige also testified that the emergency response team leader would have been in charge of the inner perimeter.
The defense asked Captain Antanavige if he was familiar with "startled response," suggesting as he did during opening arguments, that Christian Patterson did not intentionally shoot his weapon, but that the firing was a physical reaction to being shot with non-lethal bullets. The prosecution pointed out that, when Patterson was struck with foam bullets, his finger was not on the trigger, but "up in the air" as he attempted to put on a jacket.
A friend and neighbor of Christian Patterson named Ernest Davenport then took the witness stand. Davenport said he received a phone call from Patterson's teenage son the night of the shooting. Davenport told "little Chris" to call the police if his dad had gone over the edge. Davenport called Chris Sr and claims he told him he was sick of his girlfriend (the son's mother) and that he couldn't take it, and that it was "done today," that he was "locked & loaded, was not going to jail or leaving" his house.
Ernest Davenport testified that Christian Patterson was not a skilled hunter because he "couldn't shoot for (expletive)."
When Investigator Richard Paul, who was present at the scene the night of the shooting, was on the witness stand just before Noon, he testified that he heard Patterson say that his gun was loaded and he had extra rounds in his pocket. Paul said this caused great concern, as he wondered why someone who was suicidal would load their gun AND have extra rounds.
Shortly after 1 p.m., a lunch recess was called. On the way out of the courtroom, slain Deputy Kurt Wyman's mother and the Christian Patterson's girlfriend exchanged pleasantries. It was a domestic disturbance between the girlfriend and Patterson that brought police to the Town of Augusta home the night of the shooting.
When court resumed shortly after 2 p.m., Oneida County Sheriff's Deputy Charles Haynes took the stand. Haynes is on road patrol and is also an evidence technician for the department. Present at the scene the night of the shooting, Deputy Haynes described hearing gunshots, drawing his weapon and running toward the gunshots. The deputy broke down as he recalled seeing Deputy Wyman lying on his back, gravely injured.
Deputy Haynes says he put his knee on Patterson's arm to help subdue him so that members of the Sheriff's Department Emergency Response Team could take him into custody. Haynes says he told Patterson to close his eyes, because he'd just shot at police and he felt he was capable of anything and didn't want him to gain any kind of visual advantage. When Patterson continued looking around, Haynes slapped his forehead. Then the defendant closed his eyes.
Utica Police ballistics expert Greg Facciolo then took the stand, testifying about performing a "trigger reset" test on the rifle Patterson used to shoot Deputy Wyman. The test found that the gun was not one that would continue to fire if the trigger is held down. Rather, a new round must be chambered and pumping action performed for every shot fired.
Testimony wrapped up at 4 p.m. Friday afternoon and will resume with more prosecution witnesses Monday morning at 9:15 a.m.