Former Arlington Co. sheriff's deputy sentenced to 6 years in pr - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Former Arlington Co. sheriff's deputy sentenced to 6 years in prison

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A judge has sentenced former Arlington County sheriff's deputy Craig Patterson, 45, to six years in prison for voluntary manslaughter.

That sentence upholds one handed down by a jury in December.

The case was complicated and controversial. Patterson was off duty back in May outside his jurisdiction. He said Julian Dawkins, 22, was drunk and belligerent. After an angry exchange about who had the right to be in the area of the Lynhaven neighborhood, the deputy left and came back. He said he went to get handcuffs. He testified he fired his gun because Dawkins charged at him, wielding a knife. Police later found the knife folded in Dawkins' back pocket.

The defense filed a last-minute motion asking the judge to declare jury sentencing unconstitutional, arguing unsuccessfully that jurors don't have enough information to fashion appropriate penalties.

The victim's mother, Gwen Pratt Miller, told reporters afterwards she was happy Patterson was convicted of something, but she said she didn't think she would ever have closure because what Patterson took from her can never be replaced.

In court, Patterson said only a few words, offering condolences to the family, saying he was deeply sorry for the loss of Dawkins' life.

Patterson's lawyers say they are talking to their client about a possible appeal.

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