CHIPPEWA FALLS — Jesse R. Lloyd, 23, was found not guilty of his role in the shooting death of 31-year-old Kenneth Patterson on March 13, 2016, but he was convicted of conspiracy to commit armed robbery and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
After deliberating for three hours Tuesday, a Chippewa County jury found Lloyd not guilty of first-degree intentional homicide and not guilty of homicide by negligent handling of a dangerous weapon.
Judge James Isaacson revoked Lloyd’s bond, as his current prison sentence is set to expire soon. No sentencing date was set Tuesday.
Defense attorney Aaron Nelson was pleased with the outcome, but added that there is nothing to celebrate in a case where someone died.
“Mr. Lloyd shared my relief when we heard the words ‘not guilty.’ Jesse maintains he was not aware of any plan in aiding in an armed robbery,” Nelson said. “We’re thankful he is not being held responsible for what someone else did.”
District attorney Wade Newell remained upbeat about the results despite not getting the homicide conviction.
“I have to respect the jury’s verdict,” Newell said minutes afterward. “I understand their thought process. Obviously, he was convicted of a very serious crime.”
Patterson’s body was found near the intersection of 83rd Ave. and 162nd St., northeast of Chippewa Falls, by a passerby at 9 a.m. March 14, 2016. Patterson was shot once, in the right leg, striking a vein and damaging the artery, causing him to die of blood loss. Matthew Labrec and Lloyd were arrested within five days of Patterson’s body being discovered. Labrec is already serving a 20-year prison sentence for his role in Patterson’s death after he was convicted of armed robbery in 2017.
Newell said he would have to wait for the pre-sentence investigation report, but he said he would seek a similar sentence for Lloyd.
“I don’t know why I would request less than what Mr. Labrec received,” Newell said. “I believe he will be beld accountable for his behavior on that evening.”
During closing arguments Tuesday afternoon, Newell stressed that Lloyd didn’t shoot just once. After the first shot that struck Patterson in the leg, Lloyd fired several more times, stopping because his gun jammed.
“One time is an accident; four times is intent,” Newell said. “The defendant intended to kill Kenneth Patterson.”
In his closing arguments, Nelson repeated the phrase “something I did not do” -- a phrase that Lloyd wrote in a letter to his girlfriend a month after the shooting.
Nelson stressed that Labrec had previously pointed a gun at Patterson, and he was angry that Patterson had previously ripped him off. Labrec also had admitted to friends that he was the shooter, Nelson contends.
“Labrec had motive,” Nelson said. “That is the main issue -- who is the shooter?”
Nelson contends that Labrec is the actual shooter, and the only evidence the state provided to the jury was Labrec’s testimony on Friday. He described Labrec as “the ultimate con man” whose words can’t be trusted.
“Do you believe Matthew Labrec, without a reasonable doubt?” Nelson asked the jury. “When he was sitting there, did you believe him?”
Nelson added: “He’s got a motive to blame someone else. He lies, he lies, he lies.”
There also is no proof that Lloyd was planning to commit an armed robbery -- Labrec said it during his testimony, but no other witnesses in the past week mentioned that Lloyd and Labrec were planning to rip off Patterson.
The bullet that killed Patterson came from a Cobra .380 hand gun, Newell said, and that points to Lloyd as the person who shot Patterson.
“It is Jesse Lloyd who possessed the 380. It is Jesse Lloyd who possessed the small holster in his car,” Newell said.
Also, .380 bullets were found in a toilet at a house where Lloyd had stayed in the days after the shooting.
Labrec had a .22 caliber sawed-off rifle; it was in poor shape and it literally fell apart as Labrec fired, Newell said.
“Everyone who testified ... said that the .380 was Lloyd’s and the .22 was Labrec’s,” Newell said. “Everything in this case connects the .380 to Mr. Lloyd and the .22 to Mr. Labrec.”
Newell contends the duo planned the robbery in advance by purchasing ammunition.
“They planned an armed robbery. They had guns. They picked up Mr. Patterson and brought him to that location,” Newell said. “It would have been better if they had just got their money and left.”
In his rebuttal, Newell objected to Nelson hinting that Lloyd might have a mental illness, saying that wasn’t brought up in the case at all, and the jury should ignore those comments.
Lloyd has been incarcerated since he was arrested and is currently an inmate in the Waupun Correctional Institution. In August 2016, Chippewa County Judge Roderick Cameron revoked Lloyd’s three-year imposed-and-stayed prison sentence, stemming from a 2014 conviction of manufacturing and delivering marijuana. Lloyd also has previously been convicted of possessing a controlled substance, resisting an officer, carrying a concealed weapon, and possession of methamphetamine.