Man who beat victim to death with frying pan gets 20 years in prison for manslaughter

gkocher1@herald-leader.comApril 24, 2014 

A man who beat another man to death with a frying pan in December 2010 was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in prison.

In March, a Fayette Circuit Court jury convicted Patrick Deon Ragland, 40, of second-degree manslaughter and tampering with evidence in the death of Kerry "Sam" Mitchell, 35.

The jury recommended that Ragland serve 20 years for second-degree manslaughter and 20 years on the tampering charge.

Fayette Circuit Judge Ernesto Scorsone sentenced Ragland to serve the offenses concurrently. A restriction in state law prevented Scorsone from imposing a sentence of more than 20 years.

"This was a horrible incident with a tragic outcome," Scorsone said to Ragland. "I think you know the jury ... wanted you to serve a good bit of time before you could be eligible for parole. Quite frankly, I was prepared to make you serve two sentences consecutively. But the statute does not allow that."

Ragland will get credit for at least 894 days served, although public defender Lucas Roberts asked for that figure to be checked.

Mitchell was found dead and lying face down in a closet in his North Limestone apartment on Dec. 28, 2010.

Ragland told police he attacked Mitchell after Mitchell made a sexual advance toward him. Mitchell had been dead for several days when his body was found.

Ragland's first trial last summer was cut short because the courtroom recording equipment malfunctioned. It was found that the attorneys' opening statements and the testimony of four witnesses had not been recorded.

Scorsone said in declaring the mistrial that the recordings were necessary in the event of an appeal.

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.

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