Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Friday, Aug. 23, 2002

MEDIA ADVISORY

Toronto Patterson Scheduled to be Executed

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn offers the following information on Toronto Patterson, who is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2002.

On Nov. 20, 1995, Toronto Patterson was sentenced to die for the capital murder of Ollie Brown in Dallas, Texas, on June 6, 1995. A summary of the evidence presented at trial follows.

FACTS OF THE CRIME

Toronto Patterson began selling crack cocaine when he was 15 years old. As a drug dealer, Patterson earned $500 to $700 a day and developed an affinity for expensive chrome and gold or all gold automobile wheels. Patterson owned a car that was equipped with such wheels, but it was stolen in April 1995. Patterson was aware that Vernon Stiff, a cousin who was serving time in the penitentiary, stored a BMW with expensive wheels at the home of Evelyn Stiff, Patterson's great-aunt.

On June 6, 1995, around 10 or 11a.m., Patterson left his girlfriend's house and informed a friend that he was going to physical therapy for a back injury. On that same day, Patterson drove his grandmother's car to Evelyn Stiff's home and visited with Kimberly Brewer, one of Evelyn's daughters. After chatting with Kimberly for about 15 minutes, Patterson went to physical therapy.

Thereafter, Patterson returned to Evelyn's house and fatally shot Kimberly and her two children, three-year-old Ollie, and six-year-old Jennifer, with a .38-revolver. Patterson shot Kimberly in the head as she relaxed on a living room recliner. He shot Jennifer in the head as she watched cartoons and played in her bedroom. Ollie, who was on the bed in the same room, was killed by a gunshot to the head. Ollie also had gunshot wounds to her left hand and neck. The children's injuries indicated that Patterson was only three feet away when he shot them, and Ollie's injuries were consistent with an adult standing over her and firing downward while she cowered in the corner of the bed and covered her ears.

After committing the murders, Patterson proceeded to the garage, unfastened three of the wheels from the BMW, and placed them in his grandmother's car. He was unable to unfasten the fourth wheel. Patterson did not take any other valuable items from the house. Around 2 or 3 p.m., Patterson returned to his girlfriend's house looking scared and out-of-breath. He immediately changed his clothes and explained to his friend that he had just robbed and shot someone in an attempt to rob the person of his wheels, and that he needed help carting three of the wheels into the house. That same afternoon, Patterson tried to sell the stolen wheels to Aycock Tire and Wheel but because he was unable to make a deal with the store manager, he kept the wheels in his girlfriend's garage.

Police officers arrested Patterson on murder charges the same day, and searched both Patterson's vehicle and the residence of Patterson's girlfriend. The clothing that Patterson wore earlier in the day had tiny spots of blood that were consistent with a blood pattern that would result from shooting someone in the head.

On June 7, 1995, Patterson submitted two written statements to a police detective, admitting to, and apologizing for, his involvement in the murders. In the first statement, Patterson claimed that he gave the stolen wheels to "two Jamaicans" who actually did the shooting. In the second statement, after he was confronted with the fact that police had located the wheels at his girlfriend's house, Patterson admitted that he was the one who committed the triple homicide. Patterson testified in his defense at trial, and presented a twist on the "Jamaicans-made-me-do-it" story, claiming that he had nothing to do with the murders and that his previous statements to the contrary were coerced.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On June 23, 1995, Patterson was indicted for capital murder in the 5th Criminal District Court of Dallas County, Texas. He pleaded "not guilty." Trial on the merits began on Nov. 10, 1995, and on Nov. 17, 1995, the jury returned a verdict of "guilty." Following a separate punishment hearing, the same jury answered "yes" to the future dangerousness special issue and found that no mitigating circumstance warranted that Patterson be sentenced to life imprisonment. Consequently, on Nov. 20, 1995, the trial court assessed punishment at death.

Patterson's conviction and sentence were automatically appealed to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, but in 1999, that court affirmed in an unpublished opinion. The Supreme Court denied certiorari review later that same year.

On Sept. 4, 1997, while his direct appeal was pending, Patterson petitioned for state habeas relief. The trial court recommended that relief be denied, and on Feb. 3, 1999, the Court of Criminal Appeals adopted that recommendation after reviewing the record. On Dec. 16, 1999, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas stayed Patterson's execution to allow him to seek federal habeas corpus relief.

Before filing his federal petition, Patterson submitted a second state habeas petition to the Court of Criminal Appeals on April 3, 2000. On May 3, 2000, the Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed that successive petition as an abuse of the writ.

On Oct. 4, 2000, Patterson applied for federal habeas relief in the district court. On Aug. 17, 2001, that court issued a final order denying relief, and also denied Patterson's request for a certificate of appealability. On Feb. 26, 2002, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals denied Patterson's request for a certificate of appealability.

On June 28, 2002, the Supreme Court denied Patterson's petition for certiorari to the Fifth Circuit.

On or about July 29, 2002, Patterson filed a third state writ in the Court of Criminal Appeals, which was dismissed as an abuse of the writ on Aug. 20, 2002.

Patterson has informed the Supreme Court that he intends to file both an original writ and another certiorari petition by Friday, Aug. 23, 2002.

CRIMINAL BACKGROUND

Patterson belonged to a gang when he was a high school sophomore, he wore his gang colors to school, carried a beeper, defied authority, and failed to attend his classes. Patterson threatened to kill school authorities when they confiscated his beeper, and dropped out of high school during his sophomore year.

The year before the murders, Patterson possessed a .38 handgun and a 9 mm handgun. That same year, he fired a "Mac 12" gun at one of his friends. On Sept. 6, 1994, after police officers found a loaded 9 mm handgun in Patterson's vehicle during a routine traffic stop, Patterson was charged as a juvenile for unlawful weapon possession. The case was ultimately dismissed.

Patterson was also a drug dealer and stole money from a drug customer on at least two occasions. On March 10 and March 12, 1994, Patterson sold cocaine to an undercover FBI informant in an area of Dallas that was heavily occupied by gang members.

MISCELLANEOUS

For additional information and statistics, please log on the Texas Department of Criminal Justice website, www.tdcj.state.tx.us.

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