MAYS LANDING — A former girlfriend of the man accused of killing a Hammonton mother and son in 2011 described her troubled relationship in dealing with the accused killer’s constant jealousy, during the second day of his trial Wednesday.
Patrick Latko, 33, is accused of fatally stabbing Ryan Patterson, 29, and his 64-year-old mother, Diana, inside their Hammonton home early Nov. 3, 2011, allegedly because he believed his former girlfriend was seeing Ryan Patterson.
Holly Patterson — who is not related to the victims — said she and Latko had dated for about five years, living together with her mother in Deptford for most of that time. Their relationship was off and on due to Latko’s constant allegations she was cheating.
The two were students at PennCo Tech, a technical school in Blackwood, in 2010, and it was there that Holly Patterson said she met the victim, Ryan Patterson, 29. Latko also knew Ryan Patterson from the school.
Holly and Ryan Patterson met in a cafeteria, she said, and the two got along like “two peas in a pod.”
She was visibly emotional in court Wednesday while answering questions by Chief Assistant Prosecutor Cary Shill. The court took a break at 10:40 a.m., in the middle of her testimony.
Earlier, Richard Patterson — Holly’s uncle and Latko’s co-worker — testified that he could not get in touch with Latko for more than an hour the evening of the killings, despite them having plans to meet up after work.
The next day, his niece called crying to tell him Ryan Patterson was dead. When he told Latko at work, the man showed no emotion, Richard Patterson said.
“He was taken aback” at first, he said. “He went on with his work but was kind of quiet.”
Richard Patterson added that Latko did not have his phone and was not concerned with finding it that morning. That phone would later be found just feet from Ryan Patterson’s body.
Richard Patterson mentioned that when Latko and his niece broke up in the summer of 2011, Latko repeatedly spoke about it to him and other co-workers.
“We told him it was OK, he would find someone else,” Richard Patterson said.
During that time, Holly Patterson said, she had undergone surgery, and she and Latko resumed their relationship to a degree.
She said he “weaseled his way” back into her life by taking care of her and dropping any allegations of cheating.
But the relationship returned to its disruptive pattern soon after, and Holly Patterson considered it over.
In September 2011, Holly Patterson said, she and Ryan Patterson went to an evening of bowling with her co-workers in Egg Harbor Township. It was at that time that the two became romantically involved, and Holly Patterson stayed with him all weekend, she said.
Upon returning home that Monday night, she was confronted by Latko who proposed to her, with a ring, which she rejected, saying “I don’t love you anymore.”
Holly Patterson testified that several weeks later, on Oct. 13, 2011, she asked Latko to leave her home and he complied. He had been living in a third bedroom in a home she shared with her mother.
The knife that killed the Pattersons, with Ryan Patterson’s blood on it, was found days after the attack on the lawn of a neighbor, the state has said.
Sgt. Patrick Snyder, of the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit, testified Wednesday that the sheath matching that knife had been found in one of Latko’s four storage units in Sewell, Washington Township.
Contact Anjalee Khemlani:
Follow Anjalee Khemlani on Twitter @AnjKhem
Contact Lynda Cohen:
Follow Lynda Cohen on Twitter @LyndaCohen