SEATTLE — Andrew Patterson turned toward the family of the man he killed and read from a sheet of notebook paper.
"This is my first felony I ever had," the 21-year-old sobbed. "I take all responsibilities for my actions on May 24, 2012. I never meant to kill no one."
The victim, 43-year-old software engineer Justin Ferrari, was hit by a bullet that Patterson intended for another man. Ferrari was driving with his children, ages 4 and 7, and his parents when he was struck by gunfire at the intersection at East Cherry Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Seattle's Central District.
"I feel sorry and sad for Justin Ferrari's family and for my family because there's pain on both sides," the tearful Patterson said Friday moments before a King County judge handed down a sentence even longer than that sought by prosecutors.
After learning he faced more than 23 years in prison, Patterson's tearful demeanor changed. After Ferrari's family had left the courtroom, the man with "Payed in Full" tattooed on his neck turned toward his own family and friends and said, "I get out when I'm 41. That's (expletive) up."
The long sentence not only surprised Patterson, whose attorney had asked for a prison term of 13 years for second-degree murder. It also exceeded the 19-year sentence sought by Senior Deputy Prosecutor Scott O'Toole.
In setting the high sentence, Superior Court Judge Michael Hayden excoriated Patterson for involving himself in gang violence and using a handgun when he was barred from possessing one.
Prosecutors say Patterson was shooting at someone who had insulted his gang when Ferrari was struck by a stray bullet.
"I fear for gang violence," Hayden said. "I do not believe Mr. Patterson was acting in self-defense. He was acting as a lot of gang members do, with chutzpah and youthful indiscretion."
Defense lawyer Aimee Sutton had said Patterson suffers from learning disabilities and post-traumatic stress disorder from a difficult upbringing.
Patterson, she said, also deserved leniency because he willingly met with Ferrari's widow, Dr. Maggie Hooks, in August to hear her read a statement about what the loss has meant to her and her two children.
The unusual meeting between the killer and victim's wife was requested by Hooks and was inspired by a similar sit-down between a Florida family and the man who had killed their daughter.
Hayden said that what troubled him the most about Patterson is that nine days before the shooting another judge had barred him from carrying a firearm as part of a domestic-violence protection order involving his girlfriend.
"You killed a man in front of his family because you couldn't follow a court order," Hayden said.
Witnesses told police that Patterson and three other men had been at a deli just before the shooting when one of the men insulted Patterson, prompting him to pull out a gun and fire.
The bullet missed its intended target and hit Ferrari, who police said died in his father's arms.