HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A Hancock County man will spend the rest of his life behind bars for the 2009 murder of 22-year-old Nicholas Patterson. In a surprise move Friday, 20-year-old Jeremy Yarborough Rando pleaded guilty to Patterson's murder.
Rando left the Hancock County Courthouse with nothing to say. He shook his head no when WLOX Reporter Al Showers asked him if he had any comment. Rando's attorney, however, did have a comment.
"He has accepted responsibility all along," attorney Cindy Burney said. "It's been a very rough two years for both the victim's family and my client's family and he's hoping this will bring closure to everybody."
Leonard Patterson, the victim's father, disagreed somewhat.
"It's closure for the court system, but it will never be closure for our family, because we miss and love Nick so much," Patter son said. "Every day, no matter where we go, what we see is Nick."
Rando was just 18 when he murdered Nicholas Patterson. He told the court he and Patterson had planned to trade a gun for marijuana. He said the gun accidentally went off as he was showing it to Patterson. He then panicked and shot Patterson two more times in the head to put him out of his misery.
"That didn't make any sense at all from the wounds of the victim," explained Assistant District Attorney Crosby Parker. "There was one shot that grazed the face. He was not in any kind of dire straights at that time. There was no reason for the next two shots. This was a senseless murder that just didn't have to happen."
Parker said Rando's actions after he killed Patterson were just as baffling.
"He put the body in the back of the vehicle, drove the vehicle to Third Marsh Road, and as he was trying to turn around, the vehicle got stuck. He got out of the vehicle and he ran to the end of Third Marsh Road."
Patterson's family listened in court as the judge made Rando explain what happened that night. It's something they're glad they won't have to hear dissected during a trial.
"Reliving what we had to go through on October 9, which was the day he was found, was the hardest thing in our lives. And to relive that over and over and over again, there's no closure then. So now we can begin to heal every day, just a little bit more. We miss him horribly, terribly. I mean, I want him back right now," said the victim's mother, Tamara Patterson.
Assistant DA Crosby Parker said the evidence against Rando was overwhelming.