Court documents: Tooele man confessed to wife’s fatal shooting

Tooele City Police vehicle. Photo: Tooele City

TOOELE, Utah, Aug. 20, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — Court documents reveal new details in the fatal shooting Thursday of a Tooele woman.

Suspect Michael Leroy Patterson, 36, has been arrested in the death of the 35-year-old victim, his wife.

At 6:47 p.m. Thursday, police were dispatched to the Settlement Canyon Apartments, at 870 S. 1050 West.

“Dispatch advised officers there was an unconscious female unresponsive and not breathing. Dispatch also advised officers there was blood present, and the female was located in the bathroom wedged between the tub and toilet.”

At the scene

Tooele City Police arrived to find the woman deceased, with an apparent bullet wound to the head. Officers secured the crime scene and began conducting interviews with neighbors.

“While officers were on scene at the residence, Michael Patterson called 911 advising he had shot his wife,” says his probable cause statement, filed by an officer of the Tooele City Police Department. Patterson told dispatch his location.

“After officers took Patterson into custody, he advised he had discarded the victim’s broken cellphone, a firearm, and magazine in the surrounding area where he parked his car. Officers and detectives later noted that the items appeared to have been hidden.”

Officers also located a spent shell casing in the same area as the items. The casing matched bullets that were in the magazine, the probable cause statement says.

Patterson was taken into custody, and led officers to a storage yard where he had left his SUV, the statement says.

Patterson was charged with one count of murder, a first-degree felony.

Interviews

Two neighbors interviewed near the crime scene told officers they had heard screams at about 6:30 p.m. that Thursday, and located a 9-year-old boy who said his mother was in the bathroom, not moving, Patterson’s probable cause statement says.

One of the neighbors called dispatch and waited for police. Another neighbor took in the boy and his two siblings until officers arrived.

Patterson, interviewed by police, said he and the victim had been using meth for the past several days, and arguing about accusations of infidelity.

The suspect said the victim was packing clothes to leave, and went to use the bathroom.

Patterson said he took a Glock handgun from his holster and entered the bathroom, which startled the victim. Patterson said “the handgun was accidentally fired, hitting the victim.”

The victim’s 10-year-old daughter told police she was in the living room watching her 2-year-old brother when she heard a boom, and Patterson came out of the locked bedroom “with an angry face.” She said Patterson grabbed his car keys and left.

The girl said her brother returned from a friend’s house to ask his mother a question, and found her on the bathroom floor. He ran out to ask neighbors for help, the girl told police.

Forensic investigators four evidence that did not support Patterson’s account of what transpired. For example, he “was adamant she (the victim) was sitting on the toilet,” yet the bullet wound was on the back of her head.

Patterson is being held without bail in the Tooele County jail.

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