A South Dakota man convicted of killing the two-year-old son of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.
The decision came down on Thursday after Joseph Patterson was found guilty of second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter and aggravated battery against Tyrese Robert Ruffin (the son of Patterson's girlfriend and Peterson). A life sentence is the mandatory minimum sentence for second-degree murder in South Dakota, reports the Argus Leader.
An autopsy concluded Ruffin sustained multiple blows to the head, which caused his brain to bleed, and doctors determined the injuries could not have been accidental. The defense team claimed the young boy had chocked on a fruit snack and Patterson administered CPR.
On sentencing day, Patterson maintained his innocence, saying he was only trying to be of some assistance.
"This is probably where people expect a guilty person to turn around and ask for forgiveness," Patterson said as he addressed the court. "I'm not guilty. All I did was try to help."
Peterson said he only found out about his son two months before his death and had been in communication with the boy's mother to schedule a visit. When he learned of Ruffin's injuries, he rushed to South Dakota where he met the boy for the first time a day before he died.