Patterson receives six-year prison sentence

Patterson receives six-year prison sentence
Craig Patterson (File Photo)

By Erich Wagner (File photo)

Craig Patterson, a former Arlington sheriff’s deputy, was sentenced to six years in prison last week for killing T.C. Williams graduate Julian Dawkins in the Lynhaven neighborhood in May.

Patterson was convicted in Alexandria Circuit Court of voluntary manslaughter in December in connection with the slaying, although he avoided first- and second-degree murder charges.

During the trial, Patterson admitted to shooting Dawkins, 22 years old at the time of his death, following an argument in the early hours of May 22. But the ex-lawman said he was acting in self-defense against a man who was inebriated — and whom he claimed threatened him with a knife.

Defense attorney Joe King reportedly argued for a lesser sentence for Patterson, but Judge Robert Hamblen rebuffed his efforts. Hamblen opted for the jury-recommended six years in prison — minus the eight months that Patterson spent behind bars awaiting trial.

Gwen Pratt Miller, the mother of Dawkins, was not immediately available for comment, though she said after the verdict was announced in December that justice was not served for her only son.

“I have to believe that if my son had shot Mr. Patterson under the same circumstances, he’d be facing life in prison right now,” she said.

In a statement in front of the court before his sentencing, Patterson reportedly did not directly apologize to the Dawkins family. But the former sheriff’s deputy said he was sorry for their loss and that he prays for the family.

Patterson has 30 days to appeal his sentence.