In a room with benches of civil parties provided, for this file which counts 48 victims, the second trial of David Patterson, 37 years old including five in pre-trial detention, opened Tuesday morning for two weeks of hearing at the court of Créteil ( Val de Marne).
The former security guard is accused of having, in a flash of gratuitous violence, killed a 13-year-old girl and seriously injured twelve customers by throwing a large car at full speed onto the terrace of a restaurant in the town of Sept- Sorts, about fifty kilometers east of Paris.
Found guilty last year by the Seine-et-Marne Assize Court of murder and attempted murder, he was then sentenced to the maximum sentence, life imprisonment with a security period of twenty -two years. A sentence which he hopes will be alleviated because of his mental problems.
“At the time of the facts, I was not me and that (in the first instance) they did not understand it very well, I think”, explains in a pasty voice David Patterson, shaved head and body bloated by the drug treatments that he now takes.
On August 14, 2017, on sick leave and in the midst of cannabis withdrawal, he was greatly disturbed by a postcard in the name of another who was mistakenly dropped off at his home by the postman.
Seeing a new sign of a plot against him, he leaves his home, gets behind the wheel of the powerful BMW he has rented for the week with only one idea in mind: “to do something serious”.
– “Exceptionally dangerous” –
Arrived at the ZAC of Sept-Sorts, he goes around the place accelerating to give sufficient momentum to his vehicle. Smiling, serene, he then threw his BMW against the terrace of the pizzeria where families dined.
The shock is such that the car crosses the window and the dining room before crashing into the bar. A carnage.
Immediately arrested and taken into custody, the suspect bangs his head against the walls of the barracks, explaining to the gendarmes that he is “already dead”, tears his teeth out.
Speaking in short but clear sentences, struggling to find his words when the interrogation deviates from the questions he has prepared, David Patterson returned on Tuesday to his personality and his state of mind before the facts. .
“I felt followed, I thought they wanted me badly,” said the paunchy defendant from his box, unrecognizable from the period photos.
Who ? “People”, “the mafia”, “travellers”, he advanced according to the instruction.
“Now that I realized that I was sick, I tell myself that it was totally incoherent”, assures David Patterson, who is still in solitary confinement and has been undergoing psychiatric treatment since being hospitalized for several months during his detention.
At first instance, the jury had considered that the defendant’s mental problems clearly characterized an “alteration” of his judgment at the time of the tragedy, which could open the way to a lesser sanction compared to a litigant in full possession of his mental abilities.
However, the court still sentenced him to the heaviest sentence because of his “exceptional dangerousness”, which, according to it, makes him likely to reoffend.
“The trial will be an opportunity to discuss the criminal consequences of the accused’s chronic illness, now being treated, in a contradictory manner,” his lawyer Me Eric Plouvier told AFP, deploring that the legal debate is dependent on “fuzzy and arbitrary notions” of psychiatry.
The verdict of the trial is expected on September 9.