MACON, Ga (WSAV) – 32-year-old James Christopher Patterson was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday in the 2018 fatal beating of a man at a Father’s Day cookout.
The trial for Patterson began Tuesday in Bibb County. Jurors deliberated for about 90 minutes on Wednesday before finding Patterson guilty of felony murder and aggravated assault in the June 17, 2018, beating of 55-year-old Jeffery Lorenzo Burke.
“He not only ruined that Father’s Day, but every Father’s Day to come for Mr. Burke’s family. “District Attorney David Cooke
Witnesses testified Burke and others went to a house on Astor Street in east Macon for a Father’s Day cookout. Patterson – who also was at the cookout – and Burke engaged in some “trash talking” during the party. As the cookout came to an end, Burke took some to-go plates to his truck. There, near the truck, Patterson struck Burke in the face, causing a broken nose, broken orbital bone and other injuries. Then Patterson and two unidentified suspects kicked and stomped on Burke.
Burke was admitted to a local hospital for about two months due to the injuries he sustained in the attack. He died on Sept. 9, 2018, about three weeks after his discharge.
An emergency room doctor and the medical examiner who performed Burke’s autopsy testified multiple vertebrae in Burke’s spine were broken or damaged, leaving him paralyzed. The medical examiner testified his death was caused by complications stemming from the attack.
Speaking after the trial, District Attorney David Cooke said, “Mr. Patterson showed no mercy the day he beat Mr. Burke to death. He not only ruined that Father’s Day, but every Father’s Day to come for Mr. Burke’s family. Now he has every day for the rest of his life to think about what he’s done, and it won’t be a day too many.”