By Lindsay Reed
After listening to a jury pronounce her guilt, Adella Fae Patton returned to her home in Monett and apparently killed herself. An unidentified male arrived at Patton's home at 1409 E. Bond St. shortly before 7 a.m. and found her lifeless body. Patton was due in Barry County Circuit Court this morning at 9 a.m. for the penalty phase of her trial.
Monett Police Chief Tim Schweder confirmed Patton's identity and said his detectives are now investigating her death. The Barry County Coroner will determine the cause of death following an autopsy.
Patton's guilty verdict was returned last night at around 8:45 p.m. after five hours of deliberation by the jury. Patton was found guilty of murder in the second degree and armed criminal action in the shooting death of Kevin Madison on Dec. 11, 2005. Jurors returned the guilty verdict after listening to four days of testimony by law enforcement officers, witnesses and forensics experts.
Prior to closing arguments, defense attorney John Lewright called Patton to the stand to testify. Although she was given extensive information regarding her right to remain silent in the courtroom, Patton submitted to questioning by both Lewright and Barry County Prosecutor Johnnie Cox.
Patton recounted a trip she took with Madison and his son, Brandon, to a casino in Oklahoma when the three stopped at a convenience store near Seneca where Madison's ex-wife was working.
"Brandon said, 'Don't stop here. You know this is where mom works. Quit stalking her,'" said Patton. "I was embarrassed. He laughed. He thought it was funny."
According to Patton, she asked Madison about his ex-wife later at the casino.
"He told me that he did five years flat for holding a gun to her head, beating her and endangering the well-being of the children," said Patton. "He was kind of proud of it. He was crowing."
Patton also gave testimony regarding an incident that occurred in Lawrence County when Kevin was arrested for assaulting her.
"I was at my mother's house," said Patton. "I was staying there to get a break. I just couldn't take the beatings.
"I saw him drive in so I locked the door, but he continued to make quite a scene, and no one was there so I went out," said Patton. "He beat the heck out of me. That was the first time. He broke my glasses, and I had goose eggs all over my head."
Patton said she called the police and reported the assault, which Madison was convicted of in 2003. After Madison was released from prison, Patton allowed him to move back in with her. After a short time, Patton and Madison split up again and she moved into a trailer in Exeter where Madison was later shot.
Patton admitted that she made several calls to the home of James "Billy" Lomax on Dec. 10, 2005. She testified that she was calling to ask Madison to pick up some deer meat stored in her freezer.
"I needed to put two angel foods in the freezer," said Patton. "His deer meat was in the way. I called because when I get my mind set on something I want done, I want it done."
Patton said she also wanted Madison to pick up a present that she had purchased for Brandon's 21st birthday.
According to Patton, when Madison arrived at her home, she took the deer meat out to him.
"I put it in the back of his truck and he said, 'you're going to hurt my truck. It's brand new.' He got so mad and he started hitting and yelling at me," Patton said. "It scared me so bad. I was positive I was going to die. It was horrifyingly scary."
Patton said that she went into the trailer and retrieved a gun. She claimed she was afraid that Madison would throw a rock and come into her home so she went back outside to confront him.
"I fired a warning shot, but he stepped toward me," said Patton. "I said stop or I'm going to shoot, and he had a hold of the gun with me. He pulled down and it shot. I was so upset."
According to Patton, she went inside and dialed 911 then went back out to try to stop the bleeding where Madison was shot in the forehead.
Lewright presented the court with photos of Patton that were taken at her home on the day of the shooting and at the Barry County Jail five days after the shooting, which showed several bruises.
On cross examination, Cox questioned Patton regarding the statement that Madison grabbed the pistol before he was shot on Dec. 11, 2005. Cox asked Patton if she reported this fact to any of the officers who responded to the scene.
"I was confused at that time," said Patton. "They kept firing questions at me."
Cox asked Patton where Madison was standing when she fired the warning shot.
"He was checking out his new truck, man," said Patton. "I fired the warning shot up in the air, and then he started coming toward me real fast. He was mad."
Cox also presented two letters that were sent to Madison while he was in prison. Although Patton had difficulty identifying small portions of the letters, she admitted that the majority of the handwriting was her own. When asked if she recalled writing the letters, which stated that she lied about the assault charges in 2003, Patton admitted that she did.
Patton stated that Madison told her to write the letters for his parole board so that he would be allowed to live with her again when he was released.
"So you were lying about a lie?" asked Cox. "And now you are telling the truth on all the items finally?"
After the jury received their instructions, closing statements were made by Barry County Assistant Prosecutor Pat Sullivan and Lewright.
Sullivan recounted testimony tof 22 witnesses who were called by the state during the trial.
"Adella said that Kevin 'clocked' her," said Sullivan. "What did she do? She went in the house and got a gun. Did she stay in the house? Did she call the police? Did she stay on the porch or the steps? No. Does this sound like someone who is scared of a man?"
Lewright's closing statements called into question the evidence gathered and processed by law enforcement officers. He also questioned the motive of several of the state's witnesses.
"In a murder trial, the state has the burden of truth not the defense," said Lewright. "All the evidence that has been presented is consistent with what Adella said today. A door wasn't going to stop anybody, especially a man in rage. She had a fear and it was a reasonable fear."
In his rebuttal, Cox again questioned the inconsistency of Patton's testimony and the information she gave law enforcement officers in 2005.
"Wasn't it important for Adella Patton, somewhere along the way when she talked to five different officers, to mention the fact that Kevin Madison grabbed the gun?" asked Cox. "The first mention we have heard of this was here today, because she knew that fits with the lab reports."
Cox also pointed out that Patton's testimony indicated that Madison was turned away from her when the warning shot was fired.
"When Adella was on the witness stand today did she appear to be a woman who could keep her cool?" asked Cox. "She didn't like it when I challenged her about the letters that she wrote.
"Adella was mad. She came out of that house and she shot Kevin Madison, boom, boom," said Cox. "It was not self defense. It was not justifiable homicide. It was not what Kevin Madison had coming to him. It was murder."
Lisa Schlichtman also contribued to this story.