More than a year after pleading guilty to two premeditated murders and accepting his life sentence with no chance of parole, Patrick Drum remains remorseless and says he killed “for my community... I gave myself to something bigger than myself.”
But Drum is no dime-a-dozen psychopathic killer. His case still stirs passions, some in support of his actions others, of course, adamantly opposed.
Drum (pictured at his sentencing), who is profiled in an Atlantic Monthly piece online this week, strikes such an unusually divisive figure for a seemingly cold-blooded murderer because of who his victims were, and his motives for killing them.
Drum is a self-styled vigilante who murdered registered sex offenders.
He killed two of them, on June 2 and June 3 of last year. The second was 56-year-old Jerry Ray, who a decade earlier admitted to raping two boys, one age 7 and the other age 4. An alcoholic, Ray claimed that he was drunk and could barely remember what he did to the two boys. He underwent therapy and was caring for his disabled father when Drum shot him to death.
Drum’s other victim was Gary Blanton, 28, a friend of Drum’s who was now a married father of two. Drum was rooming with Blanton at the time of the murder, however, because Blanton had been ordered to stay away from his kids due to suspicions that he was physically (though not sexually) abusing one of them, a 2-year-old.
Blanton was a registered sex offender because while in high school and 17 years old, according to the Atlantic piece, he had sex with a 17-year-old girl. Blanton pled guilty to third-degree rape of the girl, though his wife maintains that the encounter was consensual and that her late husband was simply caught “having sex in high school.”
During Drum’s trial, his supporters not only cheered him in court, but they also harassed Blanton’s family.
Drum himself was victim of childhood sexual and physical abuse.
Not everyone supported Drum. When he was sentenced, he was greeted with cries of “see you in hell!”
In the Atlantic piece, Drum attempts to justify his actions.
“I believe my experiences with sex offenders, my father and abuse gave me firsthand empathy for the issue, but my actions were not about me,” he told the article’s author, Lexi Pandell. “They were about my community. I suffered many failures and my overall view of things was one of hopelessness. I took that hopelessness and in turn threw myself away to a purpose. I gave myself to something bigger than myself.”