Fort Worth

Fort Worth oilman sentenced to life for killing girlfriend’s ex-husband

Fort Worth police release 2018 crime stats

In 2018, the number of Crimes Against Persons dipped 5.3 percent compared to 2017, according to the Fort Worth Police Department.
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In 2018, the number of Crimes Against Persons dipped 5.3 percent compared to 2017, according to the Fort Worth Police Department.

A 68-year-old oil and gas businessman was sentenced to life in prison on Thursday for gunning down his girlfriend’s ex-husband in the street outside her Benbrook house.

Johnny Lloyd Patton Jr. acknowledged shooting Richard Slatkin on Oct. 1, 2013, but said the shooting was justified because Slatkin had repeatedly threatened to kill him.

Patton was convicted of a murder charge earlier Thursday.

“Patton had skated by his entire life,” said prosecutor Eric Nickols. “He was violent, manipulative, dangerous and abusive.”

According to prosecutors and testimony this week, before the shooting, Patton made repeated 911 calls saying that Slatkin was intent on killing him. One of those calls was played in court again on Thursday during Nickols’ closing argument.

Prefacing the playing of the recording, Nickols said that everything that Patton said to the dispatcher was a calculated lie.

During the recording, Patton said Slatkin was trying to kill him. The dispatcher asked if Slatkin had a weapon.

“I don’t know, I’ll tell you in a minute,” Patton said.

And then Patton started looking for Slatkin, according to the recording.

“Ladies and gentleman, that’s not self-defense,” Nickols said. “That’s hunting. Johnny Patton hunted Richard Slatkin down.”

Earlier Thursday, the jury heard testimony from Patton’s estranged wife, Latryle Patton. She testified that they have been married for more than 40 years and their divorce is not finalized.

Her husband has always carried a gun, Latryle Patton testified, and after their two sons moved out of their house, he started using it against her. Latryle Patton said she always tried to shield the abuse from her boys, so she never reported the incidents to the police.

“He would tell me ‘I could kill you at any time,’ ” Latryle Patton said. “He hit me in the face with a gun. I did not go to the hospital because I didn’t want the boys to know.”

Patton’s attorney, Alex Tandy, steered the jury back to one of the 16 recordings that authorities made of conversations that Patton had immediately before and after the fatal shooting.

“At 10:24 [a.m.], he wanted police to arrest Richard,” Tandy said. “If they had arrested Richard, none of this would have happened.”

On Wednesday, Richard Slatkin’s ex-wife, who was living with Patton, testified that the men were jealous of each other. They were both hotheads, Catherine Slatkin said.

Catherine Slatkin acknowledged having an affair with Patton’s son that led to a pregnancy while she was married to Richard Slatkin.

“It doesn’t matter how big this love triangle gets, Richard Slatkin does not deserve to die,” prosecutor Melinda Westmoreland said.

“It doesn’t matter if you are afraid that someone is going to kill, you don’t get to go out and kill them.”

Mitch Mitchell: 817-390-7752, @mitchmitchel3

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