SUNSET HILLS, MO (KPLR) - The mystery surrounding the shooting of an 85-year-old woman in her Sunset Hills home appears to be solved, but the suspect in custody does not fit the picture most were expecting.
“I was shocked,” St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch said up learning Mark Patton, 67, had been charged in the killing. Patton is a senior citizen himself.
“But then you see his record he’s kind of a career criminal. He’s been in and out of the penitentiary for the last thirty years,” McCulloch added.
The victim, 85-year-old Terry Tobey, knew Patton from time spent living in a duplex building she owned in south St. Louis. Residents there say he did handyman work for her and she often gave him money.
None was willing to speak on the record, but one woman told us, Patton scared her, but that Tobey continued to be good to him.
It was June 4, 2015 that court documents say Patton came to Tobey’s Sunset Hills home. He allegedly demanded money, eventually putting a gun to her head as she wrote him a check. It was then prosecutors say he pulled the trigger.
“He’s been victimizing this lady for some time,” McCulloch said. “Squeezing her for some money, hitting her up for money, and this time he went so far as to killer her for it.”
Neighbors who were actually present when Tobey’s body was found say they’re relieved a suspect has been caught.
“We have been scared actually” Bart Kairuz said, “ because we don’t know if someone else will come around and do something in this subdivision.”
His wife, Jane saw a man who looks like Patton doing painting work around Tobey’s Sunset Hills home, but finds it strange that she might let Patton into her life.
“I’m surprised that this could happen simply from the standpoint that she was extremely cautious and kind of paranoid about the fact that someone could take advantage of her because of her age, because she was alone.”
She also doesn’t understand why he killed her.
“She was a tiny person. He could have put her in a closet and robbed her. There was no need to shoot this person. She was very sweet and very tiny.”
The answer to why, may lie in court papers that quote Patton as threatening witnesses. There’s that, and his long criminal history.
“He went to the penitentiary a number of years ago,” McCulloch said, “on a kidnapping and assault charge down in Jefferson County. And then served a lot of time, then over the years he did parole, then got revoked on his parole several times.”
Patton is being held on $500,000 bond, facing 2nd degree murder, 1st degree burglary, and armed criminal action charges.