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Published: Friday, 11/30/2012

Modified assault weapon believed to be used in murder is shown at Patton’s trial

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Bullets that pierced the bodies of Veronica Serrano and her 14-year-old son, Timothy Blair, caused “a huge amount of damage,” a deputy Lucas County coroner testified this week during the trial of a man accused of their murders.

It was this damage that led Dr. Diane Scala-Barnett to state Monday that the weapon used during the Nov. 25, 2011, double homicide could not have been a simple handgun, but was rather a high-powered rifle.

Dr. Barnett was one of 22 state’s witnesses who testified over three days during the aggravated murder trial of Daurin Patton in Lucas County Common Pleas Court. Patton, 27, of 1202 Champlain St. is charged with two counts of aggravated murder with a gun specification and one count of aggravated robbery.

He faces up to life in prison if convicted.

Jurors are expected to begin deliberating today after hearing closing arguments.

Witnesses have testified that the incident began when a man approached Ms. Serrano’s older son, Gary Blair, and his friend, Lawrence Elliot, and robbed them of a bottle of liquor.

During the incident, the man hit Mr. Blair, 18, on the head with the butt of a sawed-off shotgun he was carrying.

Mr. Blair testified earlier that he told his mother and brother what happened and they went to confront the assailant. Within minutes, both had been shot twice.

Mr. Blair said that before hearing the gunshots, he heard his younger brother trying to calm down someone whom he called “Thirty Eight.”

When he took the stand, Elliot identified Patton as the man who robbed him and shot Ms. Serrano and her son on the porch of their Page Street home.

Patton, whose street name is “Thirty Eight,” denied the charges three days later during a 40-minute interview with Detective Bob Schroeder. A recording of the interview was played for jurors Thursday, during which Patton told the detective he had been with his girlfriend all day.

But that girlfriend denied on the stand that Patton had been with her at all that day, while a 62-year-old woman later testifying for the defense said Patton had actually shown up at her house on the night of the slayings.

Kathy Pace said Patton came to her Lagrange Street home to visit her granddaughter more than an hour before the shootings, and stayed there all night.

When questioned by Assistant County Prosecutor Michael Bahner, Ms. Pace said she did not know she was supposed to come to police with that information, and so had not done so.

In addition to statements from the 23 witnesses, the jury of eight women and four men was presented with more than 130 pieces of evidence, including a jail call in which Patton directed someone to retrieve the sawed-off shotgun believed to have been used during the initial robbery.

Also presented was a modified SKS assault rifle found several months later and believed to have been used in the murders.

Contact Erica Blake at: eblake@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.



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