OCTOBER 2, 2017
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SECOND JUDICIAL CIRCUIT LINCOLN
COUNTY, SOUTH DAKOTA THE HONORABLE BRADLEY G. ZELL Judge
J. JACKLEY Attorney General ROBERT MAYER Deputy Attorney
General PAUL S. SWEDLUND GRANT M. FLYNN Assistant Attorneys
General Pierre, South Dakota Attorneys for plaintiff and
GREY of Grey & Eisenbraun Law Rapid City, South Dakota
and MICHAEL J. BUTLER Sioux Falls, South Dakota Attorneys for
defendant and appellant.
Joseph Patterson appeals from a final judgment of conviction
for second-degree murder. Patterson claims the circuit court
erred in: (1) allowing the State to present other acts
evidence to the jury; (2) permitting the State to argue a
factual theory of guilt and motive not supported by the
record; (3) allowing the State to present expert testimony
which was impermissibly intrusive; (4) refusing to allow
Patterson to present additional instances of alleged child
abuse committed by a possible third-party perpetrator; and
(5) failing to grant Patterson's motion for acquittal.
Patterson also argues the South Dakota Supreme Court does not
have jurisdiction to consider certain issues presented on
notice of review by the State.
On October 9, 2013, Ashley Doohen (Doohen) picked up her
two-year- old son, T.R., from daycare and brought him back to
her apartment. Doohen and T.R. shared the apartment with
Doohen's boyfriend, Joseph Patterson (Patterson). Doohen
planned to leave T.R. in Patterson's care while she went
to a nearby gym. When Doohen left, T.R. was watching TV,
eating fruit snacks, and appeared to be in a good mood. At
the time, T.R. was in the process of being potty-trained, and
had received the fruit snacks as a reward for successfully
using the bathroom.
Shortly after Doohen arrived at the gym, she noticed two
missed calls from Patterson. When Doohen called Patterson
back, Patterson informed Doohen that T.R. was not breathing
and nonresponsive. Doohen told Patterson to hang up and call
911. Patterson attempted to call 911, but misdialed. He
connected on the second attempt and informed the dispatcher
that T.R. was choking on a fruit snack. Patterson told the
dispatcher he had gotten the fruit snack out of T.R.'s
mouth, but that T.R. was turning blue.
Doohen was away from her apartment for approximately fifteen
minutes. When she arrived back, she began performing CPR on
T.R. Shortly thereafter, Sioux Falls Police Officer Cody
Schulz arrived at the apartment to find Patterson near the
entrance waving and screaming. Patterson told Officer Schulz
that a child was choking, that the mother was doing CPR, and
that Officer Schulz needed to help the child. When Officer
Schulz reached the apartment, he had Doohen stop CPR so he
could examine T.R. Officer Schulz did not notice any
obstruction of T.R.'s airway, but did notice a sweet
smell, and a sticky substance around T.R.'s mouth,
appearing to be from candy.
Paramedics arrived moments later, and T.R. was taken to
Sanford Medical Center. Officer Schulz then interviewed
Patterson about the incident. Patterson claimed when Doohen
left for the gym, he left T.R. alone and went to the
bathroom. Patterson stated that when he returned, he found
T.R. lying slumped over and unresponsive on the couch.
Patterson explained to Officer Schulz that he tried to assist
T.R., and had removed a piece of gummy candy from the
child's mouth. A piece of chewed gummy candy containing
T.R.'s DNA was later retrieved from the floor of Doohen
and Patterson's apartment.
When T.R. arrived at the hospital, a CT scan revealed
intracranial hemorrhaging. An examination of T.R.'s eyes
further revealed widespread retinal hemorrhaging. Two days
later, on October 11, 2013, T.R. was declared brain dead, and
taken off of life support. An autopsy showed four
subcutaneous hemorrhages on T.R.'s scalp consistent with
blunt force trauma.
Based upon T.R.'s injuries, Patterson was charged with
second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, and
aggravated battery of a child. On September 29, 2015, after a
trial, a jury convicted Patterson on all counts. On November
19, 2015, Patterson was sentenced to life in prison for
second-degree murder, and 25 years to be served concurrently
for aggravated battery of an infant. The trial court did not
issue a sentence for manslaughter, finding the murder and
manslaughter convictions arose from the same conduct.
Patterson appeals his conviction, claiming the circuit court
1. Allowing the State to present other acts evidence to the
2. Permitting the State to argue a factual theory of guilt
and motive not ...