Daurin Patton is led from Judge Dean Mandros’ common pleas courtroom by sheriff’s deputies after he was found guilty of the murders of a Toledo mother and her son.
The Blade/Andy Morrison
Veronica Serrano’s family fought back tears, clenching tissues as they watched the man who gunned down the 34-year-old mother and her teenage son react to the jury’s verdicts. Guilty of murder.
Daurin Patton, 27, of 1202 Champlain St. was convicted Friday of two counts of aggravated murder with gun specifications and one count of aggravated robbery. The Lucas County Common Pleas Court jury deliberated just under two hours before reaching their verdicts.
Judge Dean Mandros will sentence Patton on Monday. He faces life in prison for each of the aggravated murder verdicts plus an additional 11 years in prison for the aggravated robbery and three years for the gun specifications. The judge will decide whether to sentence Patton to 20 years to life in prison, 25 years to life, 30 years to life, or life without parole.
The verdicts came after a weeklong trial in the shooting deaths of Ms. Serrano and her son, Timothy Blair, 14. The two were slain on the porch of their Page Street home on Nov. 25, 2011. Testimony throughout the trial indicated the two were each shot twice by an assault rifle.
Assistant County Prosecutor Michael Bahner said after the verdict the incident was one that resonated within the community because of the senseless nature of the crime. He said he hoped the verdict sent a message to members of Toledo’s gangs that their violence will not be tolerated.
The jury of eight women and four men heard testimony from 26 witnesses — including three from the defense — and were asked to consider more than 130 exhibits.
According to testimony at the trial, the incident began when Ms. Serrano’s elder son, Gary Blair, and a friend, Lawrence Elliot, were robbed of a liquor bottle by a man with a sawed-off shotgun. During that incident, Mr. Blair was hit on the head with the gun.
After returning home and telling his family what happened, Ms. Serrano and her younger son went outside to see who was responsible.
This, explained assistant prosecutors, was when Patton became angry because he felt “disrespected.”
During closing arguments, Assistant County Prosecutor Rob Miller reviewed witness testimony that indicated Patton threatened Ms. Serrano, telling her if she called the police, he would kill her.
She didn’t call the police that night but others had, he said. And Patton stood by his word to shoot.
“He was going to punish the people who had disrespected him,” Mr. Miller said. “He coldly and heartlessly and purposefully caused the death of a 14-year-old boy and his mother and than ran away into the cover of night.”
The three defense witnesses told jurors Patton was at their Lagrange Street home at the time of the shootings. Kathy Pace, 62, and two of her granddaughters testified that they all saw Patton more than an hour before Ms. Serrano and her son were shot to death.
Attorney Merle Dech asked jurors during closing arguments to consider this testimony and called the situation a “case of misidentification.” He declined to comment after the verdict.
Assistant prosecutors countered by noting that the three witnesses never came forward to police with the alibi, even after learning Patton was taken into custody within three days of the murders. They also noted Patton’s DNA was found on the liquor bottle that Elliot testified had been stolen from him.
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