MAYS LANDING — Closing arguments in the case of a man charged in a 2011 double homicide in Hammonton are expected today after defendant Patrick Latko waived his right to testify Tuesday.
Latko, 33, of Gloucester County, is charged with the murders of Diana Patterson, 64, and her son, Ryan, 29, who were stabbed to death in their home early on Nov. 3, 2011.
Latko's defense began Tuesday morning, on the fifth day of the trial, and rested after presenting two witnesses, a police officer and Latko’s mother.
Latko's mother, Melissa Latko, was the second witness called for the defense. She said she saw her son in his room the morning of the homicides about 7 a.m. when she left for work.
A 911 call in which Ryan Patterson is heard screaming, “I didn't do anything to you,” was made at 5:23 a.m. that morning.
Based on the timeline of events, a car borrowed from William Iannotti would have been in the driveway, but Melissa Latko told Assistant Chief Prosecutor Cary Shill she did not remember seeing it. In addition, when shown a photo of the car, she said she was not sure if it was the same one she followed when her son was returning the vehicle to its owner the next day.
Floor mats from the driver’s and passenger’s side of the vehicle were removed by Patrick Latko, based on testimony by Iannotti’s son last week. But Marissa Latko said she was doing paperwork and had her head down so she was not sure what it took her son 10 minutes to move from the returned car into hers.
Public defender Kevin Moses also called Hamilton Township police Detective Steve Zoyac as a witness to inquire about two other individuals who were friends of the deceased. Zoyac said the two were questioned at the time of the investigation but were not considered suspects.
Judge Albert Garofolo said the jury should not consider them as part of its decision.
Earlier testimony at the trial included a Snap-On Tools salesman saying he remembers selling the alleged murder weapon to Latko. The knife was found days after the killing on a lawn about a half-mile from the Pattersons’ home. The cracked sheath of the knife was found in a storage unit Latko had in Deptford, testimony has shown.
Before the defense’s case began Tuesday, Garofolo denied a defense motion to dismiss the case.
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