Suspect's condition could determine time frame of felony exam in case of fatal Deputy shooting


ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. (WKTV) - Oneida County Public Defender Frank Nebush, Jr. fully expects his office will get nasty phone calls and hate mail as a result of their representing accused killer Christian Patterson, but he says that is simply what his office does...and that every criminal defendant is entitled to a vigorous defense.

Patterson is accused of shooting and killing Oneida County Sheriff's Deputy Kurt Wyman on June 7. Three deputies returned fire on Patterson and he is still in St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica, recovering from his injuries. Nebush was at Patterson's bedside arraignment on Thursday, at which a judge entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf.

Nebush says that because of Patterson's health, the two have not had a chance to have any substantive conversations yet, and that it's far too early to speculate about what kind of defense he will present. Nebush did say, however, that a lot attention will focus on Patterson's intent the night of the crime.

"You know if it was accidental it could still be a crime and would still be a crime because he was in possession of a weapon. Did he mean to fire the weapon? I mean, there are a lot of questions here in any case of this sort that would have to be addressed and, of course, that's something we're going to look at," says Nebush.

Nebush says he expects there will be volumes of background information in this case, but he expects much of it will be from forensic evidence from the night of the shooting and the events of the night itself, and not from Patterson's personal history.

Patterson is scheduled for a felony hearing in Floyd Town Court on Wednesday. That's a proceeding during which a judge decides if there's enough evidence to hold a defendant over for grand jury action and possible indictment, or, formal charge, which would bind a defendant to stand trial for the crime.

Nebush says he won't waive the felony exam, but might ask for a postponement, depending on Patterson's condition.

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