Teen to be Sentenced for Student's Murder

Sentencing hearing begins for Broderick Patterson

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Family and friends of Eric Forrester took the stand during the sentencing phase of Broderick Patterson's trial, a jury must decide how long Patterson will spend in prison for killing Forrester in his Fort Worth home. (Published Monday, Apr 30, 2012)

    The sentencing phase began Monday for convicted murderer Broderick Patterson.

    Patterson, 18, was charged with killing Southwest High School Student Eric Forrester during a botched home burglary on April 12, 2010.

    Teen Faces Life for Student's Murder

    [DFW] Teen Faces Life for Student's Murder
    Richard Forrester, the father of slain Southwest High School student Eric Forrester, talks about his son's murder during the sentencing phase of Broderick Patterson's murder trial. (Published Monday, Apr 30, 2012)

    Patterson told police that he missed the school bus that morning and instead of going to class committed a series of burglaries with Clifton Elliot.  After losing their lookout during the first burglary, the pair decided to continue on and targeted the Forrester's home next.

    They said they knocked on the door and when no one answered decided to break in.

    Soon after, Eric and his older sister arrived at their Wedgewood home for lunch and heard a noise upstairs.

    Eric's sister ran to a neighbor's home while he stayed behind and called 911. After dialing, he then put the phone in his pocket -- a trick he'd learned the night before watching the film "Taken" with his family.

    With his phone still on, three voices were recorded on the 911 call.  Officials said Eric was told to get a bag to carry some stolen laptops, but that he didn't move fast enough.  Then a gunshot is heard.  Then, two voices can be heard saying, "Oh, [expletive]."

    From her neighbor's house, Eric's sister spotted two people running from her home, one wearing a blue puffy vest. She went to check on her brother and found him covered in blood, laying on a cracked tile from where he'd fallen.

    Eric was transported to an area hospital in critical condition, where he survived long enough to tell his family goodbye.

    Richard Forrester, Eric's father, was in Lubbock at the time of the shooting and said he received a text from his daughter that said Eric had been shot.

    "At that point I called and on the other end of the line was my daughter who was hysterical," said Richard, during the sentencing hearing on Monday. "All I wanted to do was touch my son. I just wanted to hold his hands, he has very rough hands, I just wanted to touch him to be with him."

    Richard raced back to Fort Worth to see his son one last time.

    "Family from across [the] country. They all came to say their goodbye to stay with him and say their goodbyes," Richard said. "Everyone loved him."

    Eric was a miracle of sorts, considering he was born six weeks premature and with a rare bone disease that he wasn't expected to survive. Even with one leg and arm shorter than the other he regularly played basketball, swam and was a member of the Boy Scouts.

    "Every single night he’d come and tell me he loved me, every night," said Eric's mother, Debbie. "Every day I have a hard time getting out of bed and the first thing I say to my husband is, 'I wish Eric would come back.' I don’t think there’s an hour that goes by that I don’t think about him."

    Patterson was arrested five days after the shooting. Both his and Elliot's fingerprints were found at the scene and the puffy vest was found in Patterson's closet.

    Patterson and Elliot would later tell authorities they were hiding under a pool table before one of them hit Forrester in the head with a gun, causing it to accidentally go off. Both of the defendants pointed the finger at the other.

    Patterson has since taken full responsibility, confessed and expressed regret. He was 16 at the time and faces life in prison, though he may be eligible for parole in 30 years. A Tarrant County jury will determine his sentence this week.

    Elliot, also faces a capital murder charge. His case has not yet gone to trial.