By Scott North Herald Writer
EVERETT — A few seconds of violence outside a bar cost a Mountlake Terrace man seven years of freedom Thursday and the family of his victim a lifetime of memories.
Bryan James Scott, 22, apologized for kicking and stomping on Christopher Patterson’s head during a 2012 fight outside O’Houlie’s Pub in Mountlake Terrace.
Patterson, 32, was beaten into a coma. He died about seven months later, the result of head injuries, brain trauma and pneumonia.
Scott in January pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter. On Thursday, the Snohomish County Superior Court sentencing hearing was packed with supporters of both men.
Scott is a loyal friend, a good worker and the life of the party, Judge George Bowden was told.
Patterson, meanwhile, was remembered with equal fondness. He left behind a 14-year-old daughter who won’t have him there to watch her graduate from high school, or to walk her down the aisle at her wedding, or to be there when she has children of her own, the judge was told.
Key evidence in the case was surveillance video that documented what happened outside the pub on Oct. 4, 2012.
Deputy prosecutor Chris Dickinson asked that the video be played prior to Bowden deciding on Scott’s sentence.
The video documented a barroom beef between two men escalating into blows, then knives being pulled, then reinforcements being summoned. During the melee, which appeared to involve about a half-dozen participants, Patterson dropped to the ground, apparently knocked senseless. That’s when Scott began repeatedly kicking and stomping on the unconscious man.
As the images unfolded on the screen Thursday the courtroom filled with sounds of weeping.
Prosecutors had initially charged Scott with assault. That was amended to second-degree murder after Patterson died. The murder charge could have brought a prison sentence of more than 18 years. The plea eliminated the need for a trial.
Dickinson said the video showed the viciousness of the attack. He urged Bowden to sentence Scott to 8.5 years in prison, the top punishment for manslaughter under sentencing guidelines.
Defense attorney Mark Mestel of Everett countered that the video didn’t tell the whole the story. His client was stabbed in the chest and pepper sprayed in the face before he began kicking and stomping on Patterson, he said.
The combat lasted more than a minute; the stomping about eight seconds, Mestel said. Up to that point, his client had been acting in defense of himself and others, he said.
Bowden said he repeatedly viewed surveillance video prior to Thursday’s hearing.
“I frankly think the video speaks for itself,” the judge said.
Even giving Scott the benefit of a doubt for his reasons in joining the fight, there was no justification for the blows rained down on the unconscious Patterson, Bowden said.
He also said others involved in the events that night bear responsibility.
It was “yet another senseless tragedy involving young people,” Bowden said.
Scott North: 425-339-3431, firstname.lastname@example.org