A defense lawyer for the man accused in the beating death of the son of Vikings star Adrian Peterson says prosecutors are being slow to provide relevant medical records, the Sioux Falls (S.D.) Argus Leader reports.
Joseph Patterson, 28, has been charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter, child abuse and aggravated battery of an infant in the death of 2-year-old Tyrese Robert Ruffin. Patterson was living with the boy and his mother last fall, and on Oct. 9, Patterson called 911 to report that the child wasn’t breathing. The toddler died hours later in the hospital. Prosecutors have said the boy had head injuries consistent with abuse.
Patterson has pleaded not guilty, and he is free on a $750,000 bond pending his trial, scheduled for October. His lawyer Tim Rensch has said his client is being blamed for an assault that didn’t happen.
In court Tuesday, Rensch asked a judge to order prosecutors to speed the release of medical information, the Argus Leader reports. Rensch wants his medical experts to review all medical records in the case, but he says prosecutors have been slow to deliver them. A Lincoln County prosecutor responded, saying any lag time was not intentional.
Rensch also asked the judge to prod prosecutors to find out what happened to the boy’s liver, which was donated after his death. Rensch wants to know if the organ was actually used, and if it was, he wants to know whether there were any medical complications in the person who received it.
Deputy Attorney General Bob Mayer, who is helping prosecutors, told the judge that such a request ventures into “uncharted territory,” and that such records would be kept by a company that arranges for organ donations.
Judge Stuart Tiede said privacy issues, among others, complicate such a request, but said he would consider it further.
Peterson has said he learned he was the father of the boy just a few months before the toddler's death.
“I just said I was sorry,” Peterson told ESPN, of the moment when he first saw his son in the hospital. “Didn’t quite know at the time what I was sorry for, but I told him that I loved him.”