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Jeffrey Acker found guilty of second degree murder for 2018 death of parents’ landlord


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    VANCEBORO, Craven County (WLOS) — A jury has found Jeffrey Acker guilty of second degree murder for the 2018 killing of Carolyn Patterson.

He has also been deemed guilty of felonious robbery with a dangerous weapon and felony larceny of a motor vehicle. Acker will face 30 to 36 years in prison for the murder conviction. When adding in Acker’s other charges, officials say he will serve no less than 38 years. He will be at least 83 years old before he gets out.

Acker was convicted of beating Patterson, 68, to death with a baseball bat in 2018. Patterson was the landlord of Acker’s parents and the caretaker for his nephew.

The prosecution asked the jury to convict Acker on three charges: first-degree murder, felony larceny of a vehicle, and armed robbery. Jury deliberations began Monday afternoon and recessed without a verdict. They continued Tuesday, and the verdict was announced shortly before 4 p.m., totaling around nine hours of jury deliberation over the two days.

After the verdict was read, Patterson’s family members took the stand to read impact statements, including one family member who told Acker she hopes he “burns in hell.”

Following the jury’s conviction, NewsChannel 12 talked to both the prosecution and the defense. District Attorney Scott Thomas said he feels justice has been served to the family.

“I do, they are glad that at least the court part of this is over, that we have achieved convictions on all charges, second degree murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon, felony larceny and that the defendant is going to spend the next 38-47 years in prison,” said Thomas.

Thomas also said he was surprised the jury took nine hours to deliberate.

“I was surprised, to be frank, there was a lot of evidence in the case which is why we charged and prosecuted as a first degree murder case but ultimately a jury of 12 people have to make that decision and as prosecutors we can prosecute the case but these decisions are up to a jury. But fortunately, with the 2nd degree conviction and the other two felony convictions, as well as the defendant’s prior criminal background we were able to achieve essentially a life sentence with 38-47 years in prison.”

Jury Foreman, David Stowe, says it wasn’t an easy decision for him, and his fellow jurors, to make.

“A lot of pondering, a lot of pondering,” said Stowe. “Let’s just say we all came to a decision to keep him off the street as long as possible.”
Derek Brown, Acker’s attorney, said he was hoping for manslaughter at best, but said his client is at peace with his sentence.

“My client told me to say to everyone that God’s will wil be done; he put his faith in God,” Brown said. “He wanted judgement to come down from what the will of the people was, and that’s what happened.”

Brown also said he believes he argued the case to the best of his ability.

“It’s the will of the people at this time, I tried the case the best I know how to do,” he said. “Based on what we were given, we tried the case, the jury heard it, I’m just proud that the case has been resolved.”

The family members of both Acker and Patterson declined to comment.

District Attorney Scott Thomas also released the following statement:

“Defendant Acker has now been convicted for murdering Ms. Patterson. We requested he be sentenced to the maximum prison sentence. He will now serve up to 47 years in prison and will be at least 83 years old before he has completed serving his minimum sentence. We are grateful for the service of the jury in this case. This trial also involved the testimony of several citizen witnesses who had relevant information. We appreciate the willingness of these citizens to be involved in this process. Safe communities require victims, citizens, law enforcement, and prosecutors working together to achieve justice. All of the law enforcement officers and prosecutors in this case did a professional job. Our prayers continue to be with Ms. Patterson’s family.”

Assistant District Attorney Karen Hobbs told the jury in closing arguments on Monday the state’s argument partially rests on Acker’s own confession the night after Patterson’s murder.

“I have no regrets for taking her life. I took her out, I took her out,” Hobbs quoted, referring to the words Acker uttered on August 24th, 2018. “He beat Carolyn Patterson to death with a baseball bat. He had no remorse. No remorse at all.”

Acker’s Defense Attorney, Derek Brown, in his closing arguments, claimed much of the state’s evidence was circumstantial.

“There is something called reasonable doubt,” said Brown, “Reasonable doubt says that you must be fully satisfied, but if you have a question that was not answered, that’s reasonable doubt. It is your job to be fair to the defendant by treating him so, and following the law. If you have a reasonable doubt as to any of the evidence presented, or the lack there of you are required to return a verdict of not guilty.”

Assistant District Attorney Matt Wareham presented a second closing argument for the prosecution, showing the jury photos of the crime scene, evidence found inside Patterson’s vehicle that appeared to link Acker to the crime, and other evidence earlier presented in the trial, including replaying clips of the body camera footage showing Acker admitting to the crime the day after Patterson’s murder.

“You know what I don’t have remorse for?” Acker said in the video, “I caught her unaware.” “[That’s] lying in-wait,” said Wareham, pointing to the video clip.

“I wanted to shut her f***ing mouth,” Acker said in the next shown video clip. “Deliberation,” said Wareham, again referencing the clip.

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