Glen Campbell man convicted of murder
A Glen Campbell man was convicted of second-degree murder and other crimes on Friday in the shooting death of James “Pork” Alexander.
The jury in the case, which heard four days of testimony, deliberated through the afternoon and returned the decision around 5 p.m. Second-degree murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.
Gregory “Sam” Patterson’s involvement in the shooting was not in dispute. His degree of culpability, however, was. No one witnessed the shooting, and Patterson told police that co-defendant Christopher Salsgiver had shot Alexander. Salsgiver, however, denied that. Salsgiver is set to go on trial next month.
The shooting occurred June 24 on a walking trail along Two Lick Creek in Clymer, where Alexander, 46, and friend Jeffrey Swigart had been lured on the pretext that Patterson and Salsgiver wanted to buy some heroin. But really, prosecutors said, they were plotting to kill Alexander, believing that they had been ripped off in past deals.
State police arrested both men within about 24 hours of Alexander’s murder, based in part on an interview with Swigart.
Defense attorney Thomas Kauffman had argued that circumstances of the case pointed to Salsgiver being the triggerman.
He also said that Patterson was guilty of only third-degree murder. But the jury disagreed. It also found Patterson, 34, guilty of robbery, aggravated assault and criminal conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.
Following the verdict, Kauffman asked Judge Tom Bianco to overturn the jury’s decision on grounds that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence. Bianco said he would consider such motions at the time of Patterson’s sentencing, which he set for Aug. 18.