MURDER VERDICT, LIFE TERM IN YOUNG MAN’S ALLSTON SLAYING
BOSTON, April 3, 2012—The man who stabbed 24-year-old West Roxbury resident Gregory Phillips to death near an Allston bar was sentenced to life in prison today after jurors convicted him of murder, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.
Jurors found COREY PATTERSON (D.O.B. 11/5/86) of Dorchester guilty of second-degree murder and three counts of assault and battery on a public employee after three weeks of trial and about three days of deliberations. About 20 minutes before returning their verdicts, jurors sent a note to Judge Raymond Brassard asking if they could infer malice – a key element of murder – from the use of a dangerous weapon; Brassard told them that they were permitted to make that inference.
“This was a case that required close attention to the evidence and the careful application of the law,” Conley said. “Jurors heard from many witnesses at a chaotic scene, but they found the unifying facts: that this defendant picked a fight, pulled a knife, and used it to stab Gregory Phillips, who was unarmed and uninvolved in the conflict. This wasn’t sudden combat. This was murder.”
Brassard imposed the mandatory sentence for second-degree murder, life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years. At the recommendation of Assistant District Attorney Gretchen Lundgren, he sentenced Patterson to three two-year terms, concurrent with one another and the life term, for punching and kicking the Boston Police officers who arrested him near the scene.
Prior to handing down that sentence, Brassard heard a brief statement from Phillips’ cousin, Pastor Conley Hughes, Jr., of the Concord Baptist Church.
“His voice has been silenced, but his spirit will be remembered for longer than his 24 short years,” Hughes said. “Our family’s faith is what we lean on, and that faith will sustain us in the seasons to come …. We are sure today that justice has been done.”
Lundgren proved that Phillips, his roommate, and two female friends were celebrating a birthday at what was then The Kells on Brighton Avenue on the morning of Nov. 8, 2009. As the bar emptied out at about 2:00 a.m., Patterson – present at the bar with his own group – approached one of the young women and began making vulgar comments. She rebuffed his approach and Phillips’ roommate told Patterson to leave her alone.
A verbal altercation ensued, the evidence showed, and the two groups made their way around the corner to Harvard Avenue. Patterson punched Phillips’ roommate in the back of the head. Phillips – who was trailing behind the others – came to his friend’s assistance. There was pushing and shoving, and someone yelled, “He has a knife!”
Witnesses then saw Phillips backing away and Patterson throwing a punch at his chest. In fact, the evidence showed, Patterson stabbed him in the heart, and Phillips’ shirt began to soak through with blood. He was rushed to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he died of his injury.
Patterson and his associates fled the scene in a car driven by his cousin, but the defendant demanded to be taken back to retrieve something. That item was proven to be the murder weapon, a folding knife with a blade about three inches long.
Boston Police responding to the scene stopped the car after civilian witnesses reported seeing Patterson go under a nearby vehicle to retrieve the weapon. Patterson fought violently with the officers who tried to take him out of the car, punching and kicking at them with the knife still in his hands.
Kara Hayes was the DA’s assigned victim-witness advocate. Lundgren was second-seated by Assistant District Attorney Patrick Devlin. Phillips was represented by attorneys Asha While and Rudolph Miller.
Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
One Bulfinch Place, Suite 300
Boston, Massachusetts 02114-2921