FORT WORTH - Broderick Patterson pleaded guilty to the murder of Eric Forrester and hoped for mercy from the jury. But, after deliberating six hours over two days, jurors returned a maximum sentence of life in prison just before 11 a.m.
Patterson, 18, cursed jury members upon hearing he was sentenced to life in the fatal shooting of Forrester in 2010. After the verdict was read, Patterson turned and called out to his mother that he loved her, then pointed at the jury and unleashed a profanity laced broadside.
Sheriffs deputies worked to calm Patterson's emotional family. He continued to shout profanities as two bailiffs muscled him into a holding cell. Prosecutor Christy Jack said the outburst showed the defendant's temper and helped validate the sentence.
"I think it just supported the position we had - that Broderick Patterson is a dangerous young man," the prosecutor said.
During a tense scene in the hallway after the verdict, the defendant's aunt, Sherry Pulte, blamed the juvenile justice system for not being harder on Broderick Patterson for earlier crimes.
"There should not have been time, after time, after time for him to continually get into trouble, and continually get a slap on the wrist," Pulte said.
The prosecutor responded that Patterson got plenty of chances, but took no personal responsibility to change his life.
"We can only do so much," Jack responded. "In the end, it's up to the individual to take advantage of the programs that our community offers."
Patterson was 16 when 17-year-old Forrester was shot dead inside his Fort Worth home. Forrester and his sister had come home for lunch to find Patterson and Clifton Elliott inside their home.
While both Patterson and Elliott admitted to breaking into the Forrester home, they both denied pulling the trigger, blaming one another.
"Losing Eric along with that whole situation just made me feel empty, because he's always been there, and he was my little brother," testified Kali Forrester, Eric's sister, during the sentencing trial Wednesday. "I grew up my whole life with him."
She fought through tears when she recalled April 12, 2010. She said Eric was helping her with a dead car battery and gave her a ride home during his lunch break.
When she and her brother noticed a laptop computer out of place, they heard voices upstairs. They called out when they heard creaking.
When Eric went upstairs to confront the intruders, Kali ran down the street and hid at a neighbor's house.
She called 911, described the suspects, then went back into the house. The five-to-six minute call was played for the jury deciding the punishment for Broderick Patterson.
The defense objected, saying it would make an emotional impact and bias the jurors.
The 911 call starts with Kali hiding, watching the suspects leave her house, then walking into the house to find her brother lying on the floor. He had been shot in the back of the head.
Broderick Patterson has already pleaded guilty to his role in the crime and faces a sentence up to life in prison.
But Kali Forrester is the one who feels like she is being punished.
She said she still locks herself in her room at night and blames herself for what happened to her little brother when they knew someone was in the house.
"I told him we needed to find out what it was. I told him both of us need to go up there are see who was up there," Kali told jurors.
Forrester was a student at Southwest High School and on the swim team.
Patterson will have to serve at least 30 years before becoming eligible for parole at age 46.
Eric Forrester's parents made no comment. But they'll have to relive this nightmare yet again when the other defendant, Clifton Elliott, comes to trial. No date has been set for that trial.