Sentencing scheduled for Wednesday in kidnapping, negligent homicide case
Assistant District Attorney General Victor Vaughn addresses the court during the trial of Gevon ‘G’ Patton, who was found guilty of especially aggravated kidnapping and criminally negligent homicide in the 2008 death of 94-year-old Willie P. Morgan. Vaughn is retiring after the trial. This was his last case as an ADA.
A Hamblen County Criminal Court jury deliberated two-and-a-half hours Wednesday afternoon before finding Gevon “G” Patton guilty of especially aggravated kidnapping and criminally negligent homicide in the 2008 abduction and murder of Willie Lee Morgan.
The verdict could be viewed as a win for both the defense and the prosecution.
Patton, 20, was indicted for first-degree felony murder. If convicted of that offense, he could have faced life in prison. Criminally negligent homicide is the lowest-range felony, the equivalent of stealing property valued at more than $500 but less than $1,000.
The conviction for especially aggravated kidnapping was vindication for the prosecution team inasmuch as Patton is guaranteed a lengthy prison term.
Assistant District Attorney General Victor Vaughn told jurors during closing arguments that Patton was a full partner in Morgan’s abduction.
At one point after Morgan was kidnapped, the reputed shot-caller, Darrell Nance, his girlfriend, Jessica Lane, and Patton’s brother, Anthony A.P. Patton, left the younger Patton alone with Morgan at the trailer where he died.
Gevon ‘G’ Patton
Vaughn argued that if “G” Patton had not been an active participant, he could have left, called police or even set Morgan free.
The plan was to kidnap Morgan and hold him for ransom until Donnie Johnson, a man who lived with Morgan and considered him to be his grandfather, returned $3,000 in cocaine or money he stole from Nance.
Lane was on the hook because Johnson stole the money or drugs from her purse.
Criminal Court Judge John F. Dugger is scheduled to sentence Patton next Wednesday afternoon at 1 p.m. That’s when it will be known whether Patton worsened his legal plight by going to trial.
Originally, Patton was supposed to be sentenced Wednesday.
Dugger said a presentence report had to be prepared before he could be sentenced.
Defendants convicted of especially aggravated kidnapping face between 15 and 25 years in state prison and must serve at least 85 percent of their sentences before they’re eligible for release.
John Anderson, Patton’s defense attorney, indicated before the trial began that prosecutors offered Patton two possible plea deals.
One offer involved a flat 20-year prison term, a middle-of-the-range sentence for especially aggravated kidnapping. The other opened up the possibility for the entire 15-to-25-year range. Patton’s sentence would have been set by Dugger, which is pretty much the same situation Patton is facing now.
-By Robert Moore, Tribune Staff Writer