Mother and her boyfriend get 25 to 50 years for her son's murder

Posted: June 04, 2014

ALTHOUGH Lashay Patterson beat her 5-year-old son when he didn't concentrate during homeschooling lessons, she preferred the discipline wielded by her boyfriend Christian Patrick - because he hit harder.

That's what she told police after Dashawn Harris died of blunt-impact trauma on Dec. 1, 2012.

An autopsy found that Dashawn's 38-pound, 3-foot-4-inch frame was covered from head to toe in bruises. His liver was nearly cut in half, his right lung was torn and his bladder, pancreas and a kidney were damaged.

"Words can't fully describe what this defendant did," Assistant District Attorney Bridget Kirn said of Patrick, who is 6 feet, 220 pounds.

With such evidence waiting to be viewed by a jury later this week, Patrick, 26, and Patterson, 25, each pleaded guilty yesterday to third-degree murder, child endangerment, conspiracy and possession of an instrument of crime.

The instrument of crime, Kirn told Common Pleas Judge Rose Marie DeFino-Nastasi, was a belt and a hair dryer.

Under terms of negotiated guilty pleas, first-degree murder counts were dropped and each defendant was sentenced to 25 to 50 years in state prison.

Patterson declined to address the court when given a chance to speak. Patrick apologized to Dashawn's family, including the victim's father, Francisco Harris, who gave a victim-impact statement.

Patrick also tried to explain himself.

"I know what I did was wrong, that's why I told what happened," said Patrick, who was an unemployed, marijuana-smoking, high school dropout living with Patterson at the time of the murder.

"I did have love for Dashawn," he added. "I just went about it the wrong way."

But DeFino-Nastasi told Patrick, "I have never seen pictures this horrifying.

"What gives you the right to give him a beating a grown man could not withstand?" she demanded to know.

"Who are you, with a ninth-grade education, to determine what this child should and should not know?"

Patrick had no answers.

"This is one of the most heinous crimes I have seen in my entire life," said DeFino-Nastasi, adding that she reluctantly approved his guilty-plea agreement.

The couple told police they began to homeschool Dashawn that September and beat him regularly for not concentrating during lessons at the family's North Philadelphia home, on 13th Street near Wallace.

On Nov. 30, 2012, Patrick administered a severe, final beating to Dashawn with the belt and burned him with the hair dyer because he could not pronounce the word "sad," Kirn said.

By the time Patterson called 9-1-1 shortly after 1 a.m. Dec. 1, Dashawn was not moving or breathing. Firefighters attempted CPR but he was pronounced dead at Hahnemann University Hospital.

On Twitter: @MensahDean

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