The Youngstown man was found guilty of kidnapping but not murder.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Mahoning County assistant prosecutors will seek the maximum sentence of 63 years to life for Kateo Patterson when the Youngstown man is sentenced Monday for his involvement in the robbery and killing of a 24-year-old Warren man.
A jury found Patterson, 21, of Arch Street, guilty Tuesday of kidnapping with a gun specification, conspiracy, complicity to aggravated murder, complicity to aggravated arson and complicity to aggravated robbery.
Patterson is one of four people accused of robbing Steven Skinner Jr. of about $15 and some marijuana at a Hilton Avenue home in May 2000. Skinner was then ordered into the trunk of his own car, which was driven to a remote location on Youngstown's East Side and set on fire with Skinner inside.
Co-defendant cut a deal
Frank Sinkovich, 24, one of Patterson's co-defendants, has admitted setting fire to Skinner's car while Skinner was inside. He cut a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to reduced charges in September 2001. In exchange for his testimony, prosecutors will recommend he receive 23 years in prison once he is sentenced.
Bobbie Beal and Clemons Higgins, two other co-defendants, are in jail awaiting trial on the same charges as Patterson's.
Sinkovich testified that he lured Skinner to Youngstown by having his sister page him. When Skinner showed up, Sinkovich put a .32-caliber revolver in his mouth and ordered him to empty his pockets. Sinkovich said he and the three others poured gasoline inside and outside the vehicle with Skinner in the trunk.
Patterson was supposed to shoot Skinner through the trunk, Sinkovich said, but fire erupted before the shots could be fired. Dr. Jesse Giles, former forensic pathologist for the county coroner's office, testified that Skinner had a gunshot wound to his chest. It was not established who fired that shot.
Assistant Prosecutor Jay Macejko said he will ask for the maximum 63-years-to-life sentence for Patterson when Judge James C. Evans of common pleas court sentences the Youngstown man at 1:30 p.m. Monday.
Defense attorney Paul Conn said he disagrees with part of the jury's verdict, and an appeal will be filed.