A South Dakota judge sentenced Joseph Patterson to life in prison without the possibility of parole Thursday, the mandatory minimum sentence. Patterson was convicted of second-degree murder in September for the death of Adrian Peterson two-year-old son, Tyrese Ruffin. Peterson learned that Ruffin was his son a couple of months before his death.
Ruffin died from four blows to his head that caused his brain to bleed, according to an autopsy. Patterson, who was dating Ruffin’s mother Ashley Doohen, was alone with him at the time. During the trial his defense team argued that Ruffin choked on a fruit snack, and Patterson was simply giving him CPR.
At his sentencing, Patterson—who has a history of domestic violence charges—and his attorney defiantly maintained his innocence. Via the Argus Leader:
This is probably where people expect a guilty person to turn around and ask for forgiveness,” Patterson began. “I’m not guilty. All I did was try to help.”
Defense attorney Tim Rensch likened Patterson’s case to the Salem witch trials during the sentencing hearing, maintaining that his client was innocent.
“I believe that one day this case will be held up as an example of injustice,” Rensch said.
Screenshot via KSFY; h/t Jason