By Megan Miller, Editor
TRUSSVILLE — The trial for Freddie Earl Patton, who was previously accused of the murder of 81-year-old Ken Millar, wrapped up on Wednesday.
The trial began in October of 2014 after Millar was shot and killed in November of 2013.
“We investigated the case and were very involved through the entire process,” said Capt. Jeff Bridges with the Trussville Police Department.
Patton was initially charged with murder, but following jury selection and opening statements, the state of Alabama offered a plea to reduce to the charge to reckless manslaughter, meaning a lesser charge for Patton.
“Given the fact the state didn’t have any evidence to support an intentional murder under the circumstances, we felt that a reduction of the charge to a lesser offense was a fair solution,” said criminal defense attorney John Lentine.
Deputy District Attorney Michael Philpott said after consulting with the victim’s family and the Trussville Police Department, a decision was made that Patton would serve a 15 year prison sentence for manslaughter.
“Based upon all of the evidence that was gathered during the investigation of this case, it became readily apparent that this was a case of reckless manslaughter,” said Philpott in an emailed statement.
Lentine said in this case, Patton was on prescribed medication after having had four heart attacks, one of which was Xanax. Lentine said on the day of the shooting, Patton had overmedicated, subsequently causing him to lose control.
“When they came to the house, they found Mr. Patton trying to give him (Millar) first aid,” said Lentine. “I think the idea that his was an intentional murder is nonsense.”
Lentine said any person who commits a crime and receives a sentence of 15 years or less can get “good time,” and be released sooner than the full sentence. Since Patton has already served two years, Lentine estimates that he will potentially be released in two and a half more years, but could be considered for parole sooner than that.
“We don’t have a lot of violent crimes in Trussville and we’re fortunate in that area,” said Bridges. “We’re fortunate to have a district attorney we can work well with, and get to justice in all cases.”
Lentine said given Patton’s health, upon release he will likely be sent to a facility that helps people with chronic health issues.