Jury selection begins Monday in the trial of a man accused of killing a mother and son inside their Hammonton home in what is believed to have been a jealous rage.
Patrick Latko, 33, of Gloucester County, is accused of fatally stabbing Diana Patterson, 64, and her 29-year-old son, Ryan, in their home Nov. 3, 2011. Latko and Ryan Patterson had been friends, but Latko is accused of becoming jealous of the relationship between Patterson and his former girlfriend.
Holly Patterson — who is not related to the victims — is expected to testify in the trial against her former live-in boyfriend. During a pretrial hearing to determine what could be said in court, the woman testified that she broke up with Latko due to his repeated accusations that she was cheating on him.
In text messages he sent in September 2011, he accused the two of having an intimate relationship and told Ryan Patterson: “I thought you were my friend. You’re just a dog.”
Holly Patterson said she and Ryan did not have a physical relationship until later that night. She ended up staying with the Pattersons for a few days because her mother worried for her safety, since Latko was still living in their home.
The texts will be entered into evidence, as will the 911 call Ryan Patterson made the night of the killing.
“I didn’t do anything to you,” Ryan Patterson is heard saying to the person stabbing him in the early hours of Nov. 3, 2011.
“My mom’s being stabbed, too,” Patterson said on the tape.
“Is the person doing it still there?” the dispatcher asked. “Hello?”
While that is all clear, the jury will have to decide at least one word Ryan Patterson is heard yelling.
Chief Assistant Prosecutor Cary Shill argued that the 911 call indicates Ryan Patterson knew his killer and even called him by name. Twice, according to a transcript provided by the state, Patterson said “Pat.”
But defense attorney Kevin Moses will also be able to provide his own transcript to jurors, which will question whether a name can be heard.
Jurors will listen through headphones provided to them through a ruling by Superior Court Judge Michael Donio.
The case will be heard before Superior Court Judge Albert Garofolo and is expected to last about two weeks.
Depending on how long jury selection takes, opening statements could happen as early as Monday afternoon.
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