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Patterson sentenced to twenty years


Elija Patterson, 35, who was convicted of several felony charges after a three-day trialPatterson in Chaffee County District Court in November, was sentenced Tuesday by Judge Charles Barton to twenty years in prison.  He remains in the county’s detention center awaiting transport to Department of Corrections next week.  A codefendant, Jaime Lynn Vazquez, 30, of Poncha Springs, pled guilty in January to possession of a controlled substance and was sentenced to five years in prison.  A second codefendant, Yolanda Lovette, 29, of Security, was sentenced to eighteen months’ probation for obstructing a peace officer; a warrant has been issued for her arrest for failure to comply with conditions of her probation.

Patterson and the two women were arrested last April 1st after a deputy attempted to stop a black sedan for a minor traffic violation on US 5O near Poncha Springs.  At first losing sight of the sedan, the deputy later spotted it parked at the side of a house in Poncha Springs, unoccupied.  It had been reported stolen.  Assisted by other lawmen, deputies entered the house and questioned residents inside.  On the rear deck officers found an unlatched door leading to a crawl space beneath.  On verbal orders from officers Patterson and Lovette emerged from the crawl space.

Evidence collected during the search of the house included a backpack in which was found a loaded 9mm handgun, marijuana, methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, cell phones, and a digital camera.  All were seized as evidence.

Felony charges for which Patterson was found guilty include possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute; possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine): aggravated motor vehicle theft; possession of a firearm by a previous offender; and a misdemeanor drug offense.      

Prosecutor for the state’s case was Ms. Molly Chilson, deputy district attorney for the Eleventh Judicial District.