Darren Patterson will serve 18 months in prison for killing Jamie Grant.
Patterson pleaded guilty to throwing the violent punch that left Grant with traumatic brain injuries in May 2017.
It happened after a bar fight outside of the Hodo.
Grant left behind his wife and then 8-year-old son, James.
Grant's wife delivered an emotional plea to the judge in Cass County District court to impose a longer sentence:
I have been awaiting this day for a long time, 439 days. Thank you, Your Honor, for this chance to speak. I am here to ask you to impose the entire 5 year sentence for the crime the defendant committed and admitted guilt to. Knowing that a plea bargain was made for this crime exacerbates this nightmare. 18 months is hardly compensation for the beautiful life he took from all us sitting here today. You see, he attacked my husband in a violent rage, bolting down a sidewalk to commit his assault.
It was a deliberate punch, delivered with such intentional force that two teams of neurosurgeons told me Jamie’s head injuries were one of the worst they had ever seen. Jamie was kind, humble, and patient. He was intelligent and funny. He was respectful and respected. He loved his family. He loved his life. We have one beautiful son. His name is James, after his dad. He was 8 years old and in the second grade when his life was changed forever. He starts fourth grade next week.
James and his dad share an immense love for each other, and there are no words to articulate his loss and his pain. When I told him his daddy was going to heaven, I saw a pain I will never forget. James cried, “If Dad shall die, then I shall die. If Dad shall die, then we shall die. Mom, we are going to get a time machine and go back in time to when you are standing behind Daddy so you can catch him.”
I carry the sadness that James will never get to know his dad like all of us in this courtroom. The defendant took that away from him, along with every other birthright. Eight years isn’t long enough for a son to be with their father. A few weeks after Jamie died, James said to me, “I still remember Dad’s voice.”
The hole in his life will only grow as he grows. His well-being is my priority. No child should ever life with this stigma. We promise to give him the best life.
Jamie’s career at Microsoft began in 2000. The shock of his sudden loss is still felt there today. He was incredible at his role. His team was dubbed ‘The Dream Team.’ He was called ‘irreplaceable.’ His awards and accolades are too numerous to name. Jamie was involved in this community in both prominent and quiet ways. He was always happy to share his wealth of knowledge and time with everyone.
I loss my soulmate of 22 years. Jamie was our provider, our comfort. We were trying to have another baby. I had to let my job of over 12 years go. Imagine crying everyday for 14 months straight. The anxiety that pulls at my chest will subside someday, I am sure. I am losing my hair, but these are all insignificant in compared to what happened to Jamie. I can’t imagine the pain he felt. No one deserves to die at the hand of another human being.
The defendant’s blood alcohol was below the legal limit when he made the decision to bolt down the sidewalk that night. This is not the first assault the defendant has committed. He has devastated many lives with his uncontrollable, violent nature. Several came forward to share their tragedies with their investigation. Friends have shared seeing the defendant and his family at local events and stores in Fargo. They have shared that they have trembled in fear and anger at the sight of him. It will only be a matter of time until James and I will be victimized with a run-in with him. A 5 year sentence would assure that we would be protected from that happening.
Attempting to manipulate and control the outcome of his crime, the defendant called a meeting with my representation. At this meeting, they stated they wanted to help James and I monetarily, in exchange for me influencing a lighter sentence in a plea deal with the state. I adamantly declined. The defendant’s tactics are sickening.
Watching a staged media show by the defendant has been traumatizing. Never ever have I seen a defendant on-camera, traipsing on the very spot he committed a vicious act. Then to go on and not only patronize us with his sympathy for a homicide that he committed, but speak Jamie’s name. He is perverse and disgusting.
Let me crystal clear, Darren Patterson. My son is left without a father because of you, and your family is broken for our family because of what you did? Keep Jamie’s name out of your mouth. Keep your family out of your heads. We don’t want to be patronized by you.
The loss of Jamie’s life has forever changed thousands of people and their anguish by all the people sitting in the courtroom today. Our sorrow will never end. I will miss him forever. Your Honor, please set a precedent and sentence Darren Patterson to the full 5 years he deserves.