Richard Patterson, 65, the Florida man who claimed his girlfriend, Francisca Marquinez, 60, choked to death in October 2015 during the act of fellatio, was acquitted of second-degree murder May 22, after a jury took just five hours to deliberate. Patterson's case gained widespread notoriety after his defense lawyer requested Patterson show his penis to the jury to prove a point.
According to the Sun Sentinel, Patterson reached out first to his ex-girlfriend and then to his defense lawyer, Ken Padowitz. It was only after Patterson had hired the Padowitz to represent him that Padowitz called the police, alerting the authorities of her death.
On Oct. 28, 2015, police found Marquinez's body decomposing in her condo unit. Medical experts are not sure how long Marquinez had been dead, though at least one other person besides Patterson saw her alive on Oct. 25.
Padowitz initially argued that Marquinez had choked to death while performing oral sex on Patterson, but as his defense came to a close he shifted emphasis. By the end of the trial, Patterson's defense took the stance that because the cause of death was still unknown following a medical examination, it was more likely that Marquinez had died from a heart attack or stroke that went unnoticed by Patterson.
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According to the Miami Herald, Patterson's prosecutors argued that Patterson had used his hands to choke Marquinez. Medical experts testified, however, that Marquinez' neck bones, as well as the cartilage around her neck, were still intact.
The prosecution also argued that Patterson's behavior at the outset was that of a guilty person -- the acts of contacting a defense lawyer before the police and sending several potentially incriminating texts were submitted as evidence. Patterson's ex-girlfriend even testified during the trial that Patterson had admitted to choking Marquinez, though she couldn't remember how he had phrased it.
Padowitz shifted the jury's attentions away from Patterson's potentially incriminating acts by filing a motion on May 1 to let Patterson show his penis in court. Though Patterson's judge never ruled on the motion, Patterson did not show it to the jury.
The point remained, however, and became the focal point for Patterson's defense. Padowitz argued that, although Marquinez didn't actually die from performing oral sex, "that's the way Richard Patterson thought she died."
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That embarrassment prevented Patterson from calling for help, and caused him to seek a lawyer before the police.
The jury agreed and Patterson was acquitted, dodging a conviction that could have carried a maximum life sentence. Patterson and Padowitz hugged after the verdict, while Marquinez's family were clearly unhappy.
"This is not justice," called out one family member at the end of the trial.