- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 25, 2008

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A 60-year-old homeless man showed up at a suburban Dallas police station and confessed to killing a man in Portland 17 years ago, authorities said.

David Lee Patterson faces a charge of murder. He was booked into the Dallas County jail today and was being held without bond, according to jail records.

“He just walked into our lobby and said he had something to tell somebody,” said Sgt. Kevin Perlich of the Richardson Police Department. “He just said he had some stuff on his mind that had been bothering him, and that was the reason he thought he might be having a rough time.”

Detectives said Eric Lamon, 21, was walking home with two friends from a nightclub when in May 1991 when he got into a fight with a transient. Lamon was shot in the back and died after surgery.

Patterson told Richardson police last week that he was sleeping on a sidewalk when three white men approached and began kicking him while yelling racial epithets. Patterson, who is black, said he drew a gun and killed one man.

Patterson told investigators he had confessed before, in unsigned notes to the Oregonian. Police did a search and discovered that someone had sent the newspaper three unsigned postcards months after the killings.

The writer said he was a black man who had been attacked by three white men while he slept in the doorway of a funeral home.

They were “kicking me about the head and shoulder and shouting racial names,” stated the Feb. 29, 1992, article about the anonymous confession.

“I jumped up, fired one round in there direction I heard later he died I feel sorry for him But my life was in danger,” the letter said. “I wasn’t doing anything to them. I’m a Vietnam vet I didn’t need that to happen to me but I pray his family will forgive me, and I hope your city will too.”

Patterson has waived extradition and should arrive in Oregon later this week, authorities said. It was unclear whether he had an attorney.

“We alerted Portland police Thursday night because everything was matching up pretty closely,” Perlich said.

Rod Underhill, a chief deputy district attorney in Multnomah County, said the homicide probably would have gone unsolved were it not for the confession.

“You never know when something’s going to fall out of the sky,” Underhill said. “He just wanted to get it off his shoulders. It just weighed on him. That’s what we were told. It’s as simple at that.”

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