SEATTLE — Justin Ferrari was behind the wheel of the family minivan, driving through Seattle’s Central District with his parents and two young children on May 24, 2012. They were getting ready for a family vacation, and then a bullet came through the window.
“When you recklessly fired a gun, you didn’t just kill my brother, who was one of the most gentle and kind people I’ve ever known, you set off a chain reaction of pain that will be with my family and me for the rest of our lives,” Paige Ferrari told Patterson at his sentencing hearing Friday in King County Superior Court.
Geanie Ferrari, Justin’s mother, was in the back seat with her grandchildren when her son was shot.
“Our grandchildren will endure the greatest loss daily. They will not have their father to love and guide them and they will live with the horror of having to witness their father’s violent death,” said Ferrari.
The defense argued for a light sentence, claiming Patterson had a learning disability and was suffering PTSD from a tough childhood.
Judge Michael Hayden wasn’t buying it. He sentenced Patterson to 23 years, four more than the state requested, because possessing a firearm violated a protection order from another judge that had been issued to protect Patterson’s girlfriend just nine days before Ferrari’s murder.
“I suspect you walked out of the courtroom that day, you didn’t dispossess your gun at all. I find that very troubling. An innocent man died because of that,” said Hayden.
Patterson addressed the court and insisted he never meant to kill anyone while firing across a crowded street in the middle of the afternoon. He said he hopes to earn a degree while in prison and open a youth center when he is released.