ANDERSON — A Madison Circuit Court Division 3 jury deliberated for less than two hours before finding Michael Fleming guilty on all four counts.
Fleming, 20, showed little reaction when the jury returned the guilty verdicts Tuesday on charges of two counts of murder, Level 1 attempted murder and one count of attempted robbery in connection with the death of Bryce Patterson on Aug. 18, 2018.
Circuit Court Division 3 Judge Andrew Hopper set sentencing for March 11.
“This gives us some closure,” Patterson’s mother, Christi, said after the verdicts were read.
Christi Patterson said sitting through Fleming’s trial was the second worst thing she had to deal with aside from the telephone call relating that her son had died.
“I was scared to death,” she said while sitting in the courtroom waiting for the verdict to be read. “I expected it.
“This is not something normal a mother would have to go through,” she said.
Patterson is working on an impact statement for Fleming’s sentencing hearing.
Fleming sat at the defense table with his hands in his pants pockets and was looking at the jurors as they entered the courtroom.
After the verdict was read he turned to deputies with the Madison County Sheriff’s Department to have the handcuffs placed on his wrists.
At one point he shook his head and punched the air with a fist.
Steve Koester, chief deputy prosecutor, said the jury came back with a verdict based on the evidence that was presented.
Fleming is facing possible 45- to 65-year sentences on the two murder convictions, 20 to 40 years on the attempted murder and 3 to 16 years on the attempted robbery conviction.
Koester said the two murder sentences will have to be served concurrently and the attempted robbery charge will be dismissed because of the double jeopardy clause. He said the attempted robbery charge was included in one of the murder charges.
During his closing statement to the jury, deputy prosecutor Grey Chandler said that on the night of Aug. 18, 2018, Patterson was at home in Pendleton playing a video game. Patterson drove to Anderson to help a friend, Ryan Green, with a flat tire.
“He (Patterson) didn’t know they were in the middle of a drug deal,” Chandler said. “The transaction turned into a robbery in which 14 shots were fired.”
Evidence at the scene, Chandler said, showed co-defendant Orlando Sutton fired nine shots into the car that Patterson was driving and Fleming fired five shots from the back of the vehicle.
Chandler said forensic evidence showed two guns were used and that Patterson died from a gunshot wound to the head from the gun that was fired from the back of the car.
Koester said Fleming and Sutton intended to rob Michael Kincaide of a quarter pound of marijuana and never intended to make a purchase.
Koester and Chandler noted that all the witnesses said they heard “give me all you got” before the shooting started.
Koester said Kincaide was shot by a bullet from the front of the car and that Patterson’s wound came from the back of the vehicle where Fleming was standing.
“He (Fleming) tried to kill Kincaide, but the bullet hit Patterson – that’s murder,” Koester said.
He said Fleming has shown no remorse.
“He (Fleming) meant to kill Kincaide, but the fact Patterson got shot didn’t matter,” Koester said.
Defense attorney Tom Godfrey told the jurors it didn’t make sense for Fleming and Sutton to shoot until after he alleged Kincaide shot first hitting Sutton in the leg.
Godfrey said it was a drug transaction and not a robbery and had Sutton and Fleming wanted to rob Kincaide they had better opportunities to commit the crime than on 12th Street.
He said the state’s witnesses were not reliable.
“It’s not clear if they were aiming at Kincaide, how would Patterson get shot,” Godfrey said.
Koester said Godfrey’s contention was that Fleming was a bad shot and missed Kincaide.
“You will sleep well tonight,” Koester said in summing up the state’s case to the jury. “Knowing you made the right decision.”