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July 2, 2013 at 4:44 PM

Guilty plea in May 2012 slaying of Justin Ferrari

The man accused of killing Justin Ferrari of Seattle with a stray bullet in May 2012 pleaded guilty today to second-degree murder, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

Andrew Patterson was involved in a dispute with another man on May 24 when he opened fire from across a street. A stray bullet struck Ferrari in the head as he was driving in his van through an intersection at East Cherry Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way with his parents and his two young children. Ferrari was a 43-year-old software engineer and well-known youth water-polo coach from Madrona.

Despite multiple dead ends during a two-month investigation, investigators ultimately collected enough pieces of the puzzle, including Metro bus-surveillance videos, interviews, cellphone records and information from a confidential source to arrest Patterson.

Ferrari’s homicide — the 15th in Seattle to date, compared with 21 in all of 2011 — galvanized a community already sickened by random violence. It came just over a month after Nicole Westbrook, a 21-year-old newcomer to the city, was killed in a drive-by shooting in Pioneer Square. Like Ferrari, police said she was not the gunman’s intended target.

Westbook’s slaying remains unsolved.

The sentence range for Patterson, which includes a firearm enhancement, is 183 to 280 months in prison. Prosecutors will recommend 231 months.

“The random, tragic and senseless death of Justin Ferrari was the result of this defendant’s decision to use a gun to settle a petty dispute,” Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said in a news release. “Every person in the neighborhood was a potential victim of his irrational and erratic use of deadly force.”

Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 23.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: homicide, Seattle

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