Man Pleads Guilty to Killing Wife, Mother-in-Law

WASHINGTON COUNTY, AR -- A Greenland man has pleaded guilty to two counts of Capital Murder for shooting his wife and mother-in-law at their home last year.

"While nothing can give total closure to the families of the victims in this case, this is as close as we can get to closure."

Family members of Mandrake Patterson's victims watched the convicted gunman walk into a Washington County courtroom Friday afternoon in shackles.

"Mr. Patterson just pleaded guilty to two counts of Capital Murder and one count of Attempted Capital Murder and he was sentenced to life in the Department of Correction without the possibility of parole," said Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Matt Durrett.

In January of 2013, police arrested Patterson at the Elmwood Apartments in Greenland for shooting three women, his mother-in-law Betty Desalvo, 53, his wife Hope Patterson, 34, and Desalvo's sister Denise Fulfer, 55. Desalvo was pronounced dead at the scene. Patterson was taken to the hospital where she later died. Fulfer was hospitalized for serious injuries and recovered.

"Two people were needlessly gunned down, and a third shot for no reason... The evidence in this case was very strong; probably overwhelming... We had discussed the possibility of a plea and I discussed it with the family and with the surviving victim. Everyone was in agreement with the proposed disposition of life in the department of correction without parole."

Durrett explained the families were satisfied with Patterson's sentence, but that does not make up for the aftermath of his actions.

"Mr. Patterson took two lives and forever changed a third life, and because of that he's going to spend the rest of his life in prison which I think is very appropriate in these circumstances."

There was a fifth family member who was in the apartment that night and witnessed the shootings. We spoke with him the day after and he shared what he told Mandrake Patterson as police were taking him away, "You will never see daylight out of prison." Those final words became reality.

More on this case.

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