MAYS LANDING — Blood found on the knife allegedly used in a 2011 double homicide in Hammonton belonged to one of the victims, according to testimony Monday.
After the prosecution concludes this morning, the defense is expected to present its case. But it was still unknown whether Patrick Latko, 33, of Gloucester County, who is accused of stabbing Ryan Patterson, 29, and his mother, Diana, 64, to death in their home on Nov. 3, 2011, will testify.
In testimony Monday in Atlantic County Superior Court, Carlos Morales, a forensic scientist with the New Jersey State Police, confirmed his findings that Ryan Patterson’s blood was found on the alleged murder weapon.
Morales said that swabs taken from the knife matched a sample of DNA he was given belonging to Ryan Patterson. The knife was found days after the killings as a man was mowing his lawn about a half-mile from the Pattersons’ home.
A Snap-On Tools salesman who testified last Thursday said he remembers selling the knife to Latko. The cracked sheath of the knife was found in Latko’s Deptford storage unit. But Latko’s DNA was not found on the weapon.
Latko is accused of killing the mother and son out of jealousy, believing his former girlfriend was seeing Patterson, a mutual friend. The three knew each other from PennCo Tech and shared an interest in MotorCross.
William Iannotti, who rented a storage unit near Latko’s, testified Thursday that the defendant was in possession of his car at the time of the homicides.
When the car was returned the day after the killings, Iannotti’s teenage son said he saw Latko take out the floormats and that when confronted about his actions, Latko did not reply.
On Monday, pictures from the autopsy were shown on a projector in court so that Atlantic County Medical Examiner Dr. Hydow Park could identify the Pattersons’ wounds and explain his analysis of the cause of death.
Park said Diana Patterson was stabbed at least nine times in her back and suffered from several defense wounds. She bled to death from the stabbing, Park said.
He added she was found face up, with arms raised on the kitchen floor in her home.
Ryan Patterson was found stabbed nine times on the front of his body, Park said, and died from the combination of the multiple stab wounds, which also collapsed his lungs.
Both the mother’s and son’s lungs were pierced by the stabbings and their chest cavities filled with blood, Park said.
While it could not be determined how long the two victims were alive after being stabbed, Park said it was “many minutes, probably not hours.”
He also said it was possible for Ryan Patterson to speak after being stabbed, because his larynx had not been cut.
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