A man has been found not guilty of murder after his girlfriend was discovered dead in his Margate home in Florida, the man claiming that she had choked to death while performing oral sex on him.
Richard Henry Patterson, 65, was facing a life sentence in prison if found guilty of murdering Francisca Marquinez, 60, however after five hours deliberation the jury found him not guilty.
His acquittal rested on the fact that there was not enough evidence to prove that she had choked - with none of her throat cartilage damaged and no apparent bruising.
It was also not possible to rule out other causes of sudden death - such as a heart attack or stroke.
The prosecutor’s case said Patterson behaved suspiciously after the death - calling his lawyer instead of calling emergency services. Moreover, he had practically confessed to causing her death during the sex act.
Patterson’s lawyer, Ken Padowitz, argued however that while Patterson himself initially asserted Marquinez had died choking while performing fellatio, the defense said Patterson was not qualified to know that for certain.
‘That’s not the way she died,” his lawyer, Ken Padowitz, said. ‘But that’s the way Richard Patterson thought she died.’
In order to die from suffocation caused by choking the victim would have had to have been deprived of air for three to four minutes - which medical expert, Louri Boiko, testified was ‘unlikely’.
Padowitz explained his client failed to call emergency services because he was embarrassed at what he through had caused her death.
Marquinez’s family were upset at the outcome of the trial, The Sun-Sentinal reports, as the verdict was met with calls of ‘This is not justice!’ from the assembled family of the victim.