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What About the Murder of Justin Patterson (22 and Black)?

| April 27, 2012

Sha'von Patterson holds a picture of himself with his brother Justin.

Justin Patterson’s murder hasn’t elicited marches, protest, notice on Nancy Grace or Anderson Cooper, or hardly any media until the New York Times front-paged the story on Thursday.

It goes like this. Patterson is 22. Was 22. His brother Sha’von was 18 at the time. They’re black. Sixteen months ago the pair went to a friend’s house in Georgia. An 18-year-old girl, who also had a friend there. The girls are white. The quartet split off into pairs, each in a room, had sex, smoked marijuana.

the live wire flaglerliveIt was all happening under Norman Neesmith’s roof. Norman Neesmith is a 61-year-old ex-school bus driver. He took in his niece when she was very young. She had a black father. His pool in his backyard was open to white and black children, in a county with a terrible history of segregation (No black Miss Vidalia Onion for that county, ever). That night he heard a noise in his trailer. He grabbed a .22 caliber gun, which he kept by his bedside. Most people in that area of Georgia keep guns in their home. He discovered the boys with the girls, one of whom was 14, not 18, as she had told the boys (there could be rape charges, and drug charges). There was an argument between Neesmith and the boys, and a struggle with Justin, though they were unarmed. While Justin’s younger brother was struggling to open the door, Justin shoved Neesmith, who fell, and fired. One shot hit Justin. As the boys ran out into the night, he fired again, allegedly as a warning. By then Justin had fallen in the yard, where he would bleed to death.

Neesmith was arrested and charged with murder, false imprisonment and aggravated assault, but on Thursday (April 27) he pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct. He might serve in a special detention program for a year. But no jail time.

From The Times: “Although the facts surrounding the case in Florida and the case in Georgia are quite different, both involve a claim of legally sanctioned self-defense, a dead young black man and, for the Pattersons and the Martins, deep concern that race played a role in the deaths of their sons. […] Still, like so many other crimes where race might be a factor, this one is not so clear-cut. Mr. Neesmith says he felt threatened. He says he aches for the parents but believes none of this would have happened if the young men had not been in his house when they should not have been. “I think about it every day. It’s the worst thing I’ve ever been through,” Mr. Neesmith said as he stood in the doorway of his home. “In two minutes it just went bad. If you ain’t never shot nobody, you don’t want to do it, I’m telling you.” […]

“At Justin Patterson’s grave, his mother shakes her head. She visited with her son’s preschool-age daughter, whom the Pattersons, though divorced, are helping to raise. She says things simply do not add up. What made the district attorney change course? And how could her son, who was not even 5-foot-7 and perhaps 120 pounds, be such a threat to Mr. Neesmith, who is 6-foot-2 and 240 pounds? “If he had just asked them to get out of his house, they would have,” she said. “They are mannerable boys. He took a life he didn’t have to take.” Julius Patterson, who works maintaining soda vending machines, sees Mr. Neesmith around town. “At the end of the day, really we wouldn’t have gotten a fair trial because everyone knows him,” he said. Sha’von Patterson is so troubled he can barely speak about the shooting. His older brother was watching out for him to the end, just as his mother had told him to all his life. His death changed everything. “It made me grow up and realize you can leave this earth anytime,” he said.”

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18 Responses for “What About the Murder of Justin Patterson (22 and Black)?”

  1. ANONYMOUSAY says:

    The Martin case can’t be compared to this. Sha’von Patterson the surviving brother pictured above could have and should have acted like a more responsible older brother. Sad, but what’s done is done. Drugs, sex out of marriage, immaturity a firearm and partying under the roof of an unaware homeowner is and was a recipe for disaster. The article gives a good description but at times refers to these young men as “boys”. 18 and 21 are young men that should know better than “boys” being in that type of situation. What may seem or look like fun can turn criminal or deadly in a heartbeat when it comes to situations like this. They should have never ever been in that residence to begin with.

  2. B. Claire says:

    “And how could her son, who was not even 5-foot-7 and perhaps 120 pounds, be such a threat to Mr. Neesmith, who is 6-foot-2 and 240 pounds? “If he had just asked them to get out of his house, they would have,” …especially a 6’2” 240 lb man with a 22 caliber gun.

    Taking a chid’s life = special detention program for a year ? !

    p.s. ‘warning shot’ as kids running out the door…one kid shot already ?? a little late with that ‘warning’ ??????!!!!!

    2nd p.s…did Mr. Neesmith go to shot kit’s aid…put tourniquet on kid…try and stop the bleeding?

    These NRA’ers must miss the class where they allegedly teach that shooting people should be the very last resort…not the first. Being ‘scared’ not a license to kill…oh, wrong….Shoot First, Think Later is now the law in the 25 states which are now completely governed by T-Party Republicans.

    • Ben Dover says:

      Sorry B.Claire, but there were two of them , 18 and 21 are not boys , they are smoking dope and having sex with underage girls in the middle of the night , they ought to count their lucky stars only one of them is dead , cause if I woke up in the middle of the night and found two black men giving my daughters drugs and having sex with them , both or them would be dead, These girls were 14

      [Correction: only one of the two girls was under-age–FL]

      • quick says:

        Ben Dover First of all I would like to say,”Why are you all putting the blame on these boys. For one these white girls invited these black boys over for sex and drugs. Its two sides to a story, who knows the white girls could have lied about their age. For two why did these girls open their legs for sex and why did they get high with these black boys? Its obvious that this was not the first time these white girls did this act. I had a white friend once, she was no more than 13-14 years old and she would always bragg. To me about having sex, oral sex with black boys. White young girls can be curious about black boys.Even going as far as lying about their age to be involved with a black boy, all im saying is it’s two sides to a story. Sorry

  3. 37yroldFather says:

    Ok. This is one of those times as a black man I have to say, you have to be an idiot to pull the race card. Both of those young men were old enough to know better than to be in a man’s home doing what they were doing regardless of the girls age if they did not have his permission. And size is not as much a factor as age is. If I am a 61yr old man, and I hear something out of sorts in my home and I own a gun. You are damn right it will be in my hand when I go to see what the hell is going on in MY HOUSE. They should never have struggled with the man, IN HIS HOME. If he said sit your butts still till the police get here because that young lady is 14yrs old, then sit your ass still till they get there and let them sort it out. It is sad the young man died but I am sorry, this is nothing but a man/guardian protecting his home and family. Period. I agree with the defendant. None of this would have happened had they not had their butts in his house where they should not have been. That is the problem with the young kids now days. They have no respect for anyone or anything. And I am not speaking in a racial sense, I am talking about kids in general as a whole. I would never have found myself in that situation because I had more respect for a person’s home than that. It was just a series of bad choices and a tragic accident.

  4. Christie 2012 says:

    This story reminds of a hit piece in the Tampa Bay Times printed a few weeks ago about a FEMA Worker (black) shot by 77 year white man.

  5. Momgates says:

    First Flagler Live if you are gonna start digging up stories about races issues, lets add the one in DC where a black teen beat the crap out of a white boy and said “he was angry over trayvon” or what about the man beaten by a black mob, now in a comma, or the one in Balitmore….. The Martin, Zimmerman case was not racist, sorry… Zimmerman has NO traits of a racist!! Yes he did wrong but all this crap of him being a racist is just bad apples stirring the pot. Keep it real, racist goes both ways and you all are just digging more stuff up. Sad attempt to Make something of yourselves. BTW, the writing on this article sounded something like my 10yr old would write. Keep writing about FLAGLER county information to keep your customer base, stop trying to join the media games. Disappointed. I agree with 37yrold father completley!!

  6. comment says:

    I wish people would make up their minds. When it suits the story we call 18+ year old “kids” or 17- year olds “practically and adult”. If you are 18 and 22 then society sees you as and adult. period. And what is a 22 year old “man” Daddy (cough, cough) doing with a 14 year old girl? Stupid is as stupid does.

  7. comment says:

    Oh, yeah. I love the new ploy of using innocent old pictures of these supposed great people. You mean to tell me you have not had a photo taken since you were like 12? Really?

  8. Meh says:

    They should have used a baby picture. Maybe then rev. Sharpton would have swung by…

  9. Some guy says:

    Why does the liberal media wants all of us to look at “race” not the actions of people. Why is it that if its white on black crime it makes the news but the same thing is not all over if its black on black or black on white. The left are the one who are conerned with race they are the biggots. Just look how this is put out–

    It goes like this. Patterson is 22. Was 22. His brother Sha’von was 18 at the time. They’re black. Sixteen months ago the pair went to a friend’s house in Georgia. An 18-year-old girl, who also had a friend there. The girls are white. — Norman Neesmith is a 61-year-old ex-school bus driver. He took in his niece when she was very young. She had a black father.

    So why is this girl called white? our president had a black father and white mother and he is black?Come on media stop all this race crap!!

  10. GoodFella says:

    I think I hear a Mississippi wind chime in this story?

  11. Layla says:

    I think I hear this….my heart breaks for the Patterson family. But at the same time I wonder how many children are being raised to think opportune sex is ok.

    Most children, young poeple don’t see color, thank God. But we are in danger of raising a generation who have no respect for themselves because they have no respect for others, no matter what color they are. They have no respect for the institution of marriage, for what they do to their own bodies, for the feelings of others.

    This isn’t about racism. it is about two young men who were in the wrong place at the wrong time and unfortunately all involved with pay for this the rest of their lives. This could have been prevented, but a horrible sequence of events was set into motion and a fabulous young life was lost at the hands of a man who will never forget what has happened.

    My prayers go out to all of them.

  12. "My Daily Rant" says:

    As I read the news lately it makes me sick,one would think white people are running crazy killing blacks.The real problem is the media, this rag included.During the zimmerman case 2 blacks from sanford went to winterhaven beat an old white man into a coma with a hammer to rob him.Up north an old couple were sitting at home a black man broke in and beat the old man until he thought he was dead,an 90 year old man that served in WWII. His wife 85 years old not as luckey he raped her, yes 85, then killed her.Or the black couple in the McDonalds drive thru, a retarded white kid walking his dog he got in the way the black man yelled something raceist the white kid yelled something back,the black shot him to death.Did the media other than local report any of this,no.If I came home to find two men white or black in my house with my 14 year old daughter Id shoot also.Isnt that rape.

  13. Flagler Citizen says:

    As the father of six (6) children I am extremely concerned as to how the reporting of these stories is understood by my children. What I try to explain to them is that while this will never be a perfect world, and until you change situations, there will always be people who are “ignorant” about dealing with others, it is very important to differentiate if the acts involved true prejudice or, were actions/crimes involving people of different races and the “spin” and inferences made by those reporting the stories. In the last few weeks, with the reporting of the whole Zimmerman case, it is impossible to see any reporting which does not, either directly or indirectly, have the race issue vaguely or “in your face” told. From the media’s standpoint and the reporting of this website, if we are going to run the similar “race” theme, let’s be sure to show that it can exist when the participants roles are reversed. I have not seen any reporting of the recently convicted teenager in the Tampa are who, after being arrested months earlier on a charge of aggravated assault with a handgun, was recently convicted of first-degree murder in the deaths of two British tourists who had spent the evening drinking, got lost and ended up in a housing project. Was this a “racial” crime, I don’t think so but, if the participants roles had been reversed, I can just envision the responses from CNN-MSNBC-Al Sharpton-Jesse Jackson, etc. who would do everything in their power to have the individual tried and convicted before the judicial due process was allowed to take its course. Racial crimes have always existed and, unfortunately, will continue. We can only hope our children learn to be smart enough to understand the difference!

  14. idk who says:

    as a white man living in the south I have to side with Mr. Neesmith. He was defending his daughter and a friend from 2 “adult blacks(but they weren’t clearly acting like adults) from rape. also I believe Justin had a daughter to. Just so wrong. also they came into His home unannounced which like breaking in. Its private property. Its against the law to go on private property without the permission of the owner.

  15. Samirah Hall says:

    I don’t know if some of the people commenting really paid attention to the story. Mr. Neesmith’s daughter admitted in the documentary that they as in she and the girl should not have invited them over. She said she didn’t speak up when Norman caught them. She was 18, the other girl was 14, but lied about her age. His daughter is to blame because she knew when he’d be sleep. She told them where to park to not get caught. She was more responsible than anyone for trying to sneak them in the house. These girls were what my mom would said “fast” in the tail. I don’t think it was about race, I think Norman reacted too soon. Is everyone forgetting that since he heard noise in his house, he grabbed his gun that he keeps by him? It is clear that when this man called these guys as he says and told them to sit on the couch that the gun was still in his hand. Who in there right mind would not be intimidated by someone holding a gun. This is common sense. These guys chose to make a run for it. Sadly, one of them ended up dead.

  16. Charla Welcome says:

    I am a 63 year old black woman who raised 2 daughters. I guarantee you that if I awoke in the middle of the night and found what Mr. Neesmith discovered, I would have had the same reaction. Justin, at 22, was a grown man and had no business in that house. His brother, at 18 or 19, should have known better as well. These were not kids, as dad says. I also agree with Mr. Neesmith that this was probably not the first time they had done something like this. An underage girl cannot invite a man into the home in the middle of the night. However, I never once heard the mother or father say anything about their sons’ behavior causing this event to happen. He already had 1 child – sounds like a lack of morals and respect to me. Mr. Neesmith did not know these young men personally – he had no idea what they were capable of doing, but what they did show was certainly not the actions of nice, young men. And to think some of Justin’s last words were, “the MF’er shot me ” ( he used the words). Sounds like instead of crying for the cameras, mom needs to think about what she should have done differently and stop pointing the finger in other directions. Sorry for a mother to lose a child, but this grown man was out of line and paid the ultimate penalty.

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