Sheriff’s Deputy Convicted of Voluntary Manslaughter in Virginia Shooting

Craig Patterson was found guilty of manslaughter in the death of Julian Dawkins.

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Craig Patterson

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Arlington, Va., Sheriff’s Deputy Craig Patterson was found guilty in the May death of Julian Dawkins, a shuttle driver for PBS's Newshour program, the Washington Post reports.

According to the news site, the jury was tasked with deciding whether Patterson, who was off-duty at the time, responded as a law-enforcement agent when the 22-year-old drunkenly approached him with a knife or if he had acted in anger out of revenge. The prosecution charged him with first-degree murder, but jurors found him guilty on the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Patterson’s defense attorney had argued that Patterson had not meant to kill the young man from Alexandria, saying that when Patterson tried to arrest Dawkins, the young man attacked him.

However, plaintiffs argued that he should have called the police instead of taking matters into his own hands. "The defendant was angry because he was disrespected by a man twice his size and half his age," Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter said. "He killed a man because he was angry.

"Julian Dawkins was intoxicated," Porter added. "That doesn’t mean that he deserved to die."

Patterson admitted that he thought he had been within his authority to arrest Dawkins. "I was under that impression," Patterson, 45, said. "I was wrong."

Read more at the Washington Post.

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