Michael Eugene Patten
29 Years Old

December 17, 1971 to June 10, 2001

Mike Patten was born in Washington DC the week before Christmas in 1971, the fourth of our children. He grew up in Fort Washington, Maryland with his brothers and sister, Mark, Mary Alice and Andy. Family and friends were central to his life. He was especially close to Andy because they were only 18 months apart. We always spoke of “Andy and Mike” - one name was rarely said without the other.

Mike’s niece and nephew, Emily and Brian, were “the apples of his eye” and he enjoyed doting on them. When the older child, Emily, was only 18 months old, he took her to the Ice Capades. She was probably too young to go, but he wanted to see her enjoy it. He often took her and Brian for walks or to the park. His sister remembers that the last time she saw Mike was at Brian’s third birthday party. Mike had returned from a long drive, but it was important to him to be at Brian’s party.

Among Mike’s many interests were sports (especially ice hockey and football), music, and history. He treasured his season tickets to Redskins games. While in middle school, he constructed a guitar from scratch and had a reputation of being an expert at playing “air guitar.” He played ice hockey from the time he was little, and there were many cold winter mornings we got up to take him to practice at 5:30 a.m. Mike had a special interest in history and had a role in a “made-for-TV” movie about the assassination of President Lincoln that was filmed in Ford’s Theatre. His interest in history also led him and his best friend, Mark Rositol, to plan an extensive trip to Europe to visit Normandy and several countries. Mike and Mark had been friends since elementary school. One of this favorite movies was, “Saving Private Ryan.”

At the time of his death, Mike was working at the headquarters of Rigg’s Bank and he enjoyed his job. He received several awards for volunteer service to the bank in training new employees.

We have many reasons to be proud of our son and brother, Mike. After he was killed, we heard from many of Mike’s friends who told stories of how Mike had helped them through difficult times. One friend in particular wrote to us and told about a very dark and lonely period of his life where Mike had stood by him and been his only friend.

Our family treasures our wonderful memories of times with Mike, but we miss him terribly. We miss his special qualities—his jokes and his arguments. We miss just watching a movie together. His loss has left a hole in our lives, as well as in the lives of his many friends.

CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE MURDER

On June 10, 2001, Mike and his friend, Lea Anne Brown, a Petty Officer in the United States Navy, were returning home from an evening out with friends at Lulu’s in Georgetown when they were stopped near our home in Fort Washington by five young men (Aaron Hollingsworth, Robert Odum, Eric Thomas, Marko Scuthings, and Cortez Carroll). This group had been committing violent crimes throughout the evening. They ranged in age from 18 to 23. The men were harassing Lea on the passenger side of Mike’s car, threatening her with rape. They took her bankcard from her and she kept repeating her pin number and begging the men to leave them alone. Aaron Hollingsworth forced Mike to get out the driver’s side and made him pull out his pockets. Aaron took the money he found there-$30. Mike stepped forward to go to Lea’s aide, and Aaron started beating him. Others joined in and beat and kicked Mike so severely that he was almost dead. The next morning there were large puddles of blood on the ground and Aaron testified that, as Mike lay suffering, they had laughed and said, “The dude is snoring.” Mike was shoved into the trunk of his car and Lea was forced to get in. When she resisted, her skull was fractured in several places with the butt of a gun and the roof of the trunk. These two wonderful people were driven several miles to Accokeek, MD where they were moved from the car into the woods and shot multiple times. At the trials, Aaron testified that as they drove they could hear Lea pleading for them to leave her and Mike by the side of the road. Several hours after the murder, a man riding a bicycle discovered Mike and Lea’s bodies.

After the murder, the men drove into Washington and purchased marijuana with the money they had taken from Mike and then went to a teller machine (ironically one operated by Rigg’s Bank) to try to get money from Lea’s account. They were only able to get $25. Then they drove back to Fort Washington, where they all lived, abandoned Mike’s car, and returned home. Aaron testified that he went home, washed the blood from his boots, and fell asleep. He did not remember anything until the next morning when his mother woke him up for church! It took two weeks until the arrests were made.

Trials began the following spring 2002. Aaron Hollingsworth made a plea deal, agreeing to testify against the others. He had no major prior convictions. He was sentenced to 100 years, with all but 30 years suspended. He is now serving his sentence in a medium security prison in Hagerstown, Maryland and will be eligible for parole. Cortez Carroll, who had several prior convictions for violent crimes agreed to plead guilty without the possibility of parole in order to avoid the death penalty. He is now serving his sentence in a Federal prison in Massachusetts. The other three defendants were tried and charged with: first degree murder, armed carjacking, armed robbery, kidnapping, and use of a handgun to commit a crime of violence. Robert Odum who had a long record of violent crime, was convicted of two counts of kidnapping and is serving his sentence of 30 years for each victim (60 years) at Jessup Prison. He is appealing his sentence. Eric Thomas, who also had a criminal record, was convicted of second-degree felony murder and is serving his sentence at Jessup Prison. Marko Scutchings was acquitted of all charges, but is serving a sentence of 20 years at the Eastern Correctional Facility in Maryland for the other crimes he committed that evening before the murder of Mike and Lea.

back to 28

Michael Patten