Deveron Patterson cried while telling a judge about killing Kareem Hunter last year.
“We beat up Kareem . . . duct-taped him, put him in the trunk and carried him up to Beckley,” Patterson said, with his head down.
Patterson, 26, pleaded guilty Friday morning to first-degree murder in the brutal killing of Hunter last fall.
His agreement with prosecutors guaranteed that he be given mercy, meaning he can be eligible for parole after 15 years. He will be sentenced Nov. 13.
Kanawha Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib accepted that deal. If he hadn’t, Patterson could have withdrawn his plea. The agreement was reached late Thursday.
Hunter, 28, was beaten with a rubber mallet in a Marmet apartment, bound with duct tape and buried in a shallow grave near Beckley, according to police. He was reported missing Sept. 23 and his body was found almost two months later.
Miguel Quinones, 36, of Charleston, also is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying. His trial is set for Oct. 27. Friday was Zakaib’s last day as a judge before retirement, but the West Virginia Supreme Court has appointed him as a senior status judge and said he will continue to hear some cases until his replacement is named.
As part of his deal, Patterson will testify against Quinones.
“He wanted to make sure the truth came out,” Jesse Forbes, Patterson’s attorney, said after the hearing.
Patterson gave a lengthy statement to Kanawha County sheriff’s detectives. He said Quinones felt disrespected that Hunter had messed with his girlfriend, Shawnique Hudson.
The two men went to the apartment of Kelsey Marie Legg, 20, of Marmet, and she called Hunter, telling him to come over to have sex, according to police.
Legg was originally charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping in Hunter’s death, but she eventually took a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact to first-degree murder and attempting to aid and abet another person in concealing a dead body. As part of her deal, she agreed to testify against Quinones and Patterson. Zakaib sentenced her to six to eight years.
Kanawha Assistant Prosecutor Dan Holstein said Friday that Quinones will not be offered a plea deal. Quinones refused to talk to detectives after being arrested.
The deal Patterson made shows that prosecutors believe Quinones is more culpable in the slaying, Forbes said.
On the night of the slaying, Hunter put up a fight, Patterson told police. Patterson picked up a gun, pointed it at Hunter and told him to “chill,” his statement reads. Quinones then tackled Hunter and began hitting him with the rubber mallet, according to the statement.
Police say Patterson told them he and Quinones dumped the body beside a house on Old Turnpike Road near Beckley and came back the next day to bury it. People who lived near the area where Hunter’s body was found told police they helped two men in a Cadillac move their car when it got stuck in their driveway. One of the men was described to police as Arnie Patterson’s son, Deveron, according to deputies’ report. The driver had blood on his shirt and a cut on his face, police were told.
About a dozen people sat on each side of the courtroom Friday. Half were Hunter’s family members and the others were there for Patterson. Arnie Patterson was allowed to meet with his son before the hearing started.
Both families cried during the hearing.
Holstein said he discussed the deal with Hunter’s parents Thursday night. They live in Virginia and weren’t able to attend the hearing, but they were OK with the agreement, according to Holstein.
“They understand how valuable his testimony will be,” the prosecutor said after the hearing.
Reach Kate White at firstname.lastname@example.org, 304-348-1723 or follow @KateLWhite on Twitter.