Life for the man who drove into a pizzeria

published on Friday, September 09, 2022 at 9:08 p.m.

Foot on the accelerator, smiling, he drove to a pizzeria where families dined: a man with psychiatric disorders saw his life sentence confirmed on Friday on appeal to the assizes for his incomprehensible act in 2017 in Seine-et-Marne.

After nine days of a heavy trial in the court of Créteil (Val-de-Marne), David Patterson, 37, was again found guilty at the start of the evening of assassination and attempted assassination. As in the first instance, he inherits a security period of 22 years, the maximum penalty incurred.

On August 14, 2017, at 8:11 p.m., this ex-vigil, then in the grip of a delirium of persecution and on sick leave for a year, rushed at full speed a large rental engine on a family restaurant in the ZAC of the town of Sept-Sorts, which he frequented as a child.

The shock is such that the 190 horsepower BMW mows down the tables on the terrace, crosses the window and the dining room before crashing into the bar at the back. A 13-year-old girl died instantly, twelve other customers were seriously injured. A carnage.

Coming to the pizzeria to congratulate the children for tidying up the house, the Jakov family was at the first table hit. Angela, 13, is killed, the other members injured.

At that moment, “our whole life changed. A life between hospitals, psychiatry, drugs, rehabilitation, psychologists”, confided the mother Betty Jakov in a heartbreaking testimony at the bar.

– Paranoid delirium –

But five years later, the brilliance of David Patterson remains as staggering as it is inexplicable.

In the glass box, the plump accused, shaved head, face puffy from medication, remained unable to provide a valid reason for his act, abandoning the fifty or so civil parties to the dismay of their incomprehension.

Saying that he felt hunted by imaginary tormentors that day, a psychotic crisis triggered on the morning of the tragedy by a harmless mail error from the postman, David Patterson claims to have hit the pizzeria by car only “for the machination to stop”.

A gesture of gratuitous violence that he described laconically to the court, with a striking lack of empathy, using the same factual coldness as to tell his races to Leroy Merlin or Super U in the hours preceding the facts.

“He hardly recognizes, with lip service, his criminal responsibility in this case and takes refuge behind the mental state which was his at the time of the facts”, lambasted the Advocate General Christophe Auger, asking for life for this “cowardly “.

Because in this trial “on the borders of medicine, on the borders of justice”, according to his lawyer Me Eric Plouvier, the issue of this appeal was for David Patterson, who studied the penal code in prison, to try to get a reduced sentence because of his mental illness.

The alteration of his discernment at the time of the facts, which opened the possibility of a reduction in sentence, was the subject of bitter debates by psychiatric experts at the bar of the Assize Court this week.

Psychiatrists described him as having a sensitive personality with an inferiority complex and prone to paranoid delusions.

At the time of the facts, he was in “a delirious headlong rush into a certain psychic chaos”. “He could not explain what had happened in his head,” said Dr. Daniel Zagury.

In its verdict on appeal, the Val-de-Marne Assize Court recognized the alteration of David Patterson’s discernment but without however granting him the reduction in sentence. Held in solitary confinement, he will remain so.

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