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Man who shot dog of injured veteran given maximum sentence

Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014 3:07 PM
Last updated 10:20 PM
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An Augusta man who broke into the home of an injured soldier and shot her service dog was sentenced Thursday to the maximum possible – 25 years in prison.

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Kinga Kiss-Johnson, left, and her dog Balto take a break during the trial of Joshua Patterson at the Richmond County Courthouse.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Kinga Kiss-Johnson, left, and her dog Balto take a break during the trial of Joshua Patterson at the Richmond County Courthouse.

Retribution isn’t always a bad concept, especially in the case of a decorated war hero who was willing to give her life for the U.S. before she had even become a citizen, Judge Daniel J. Craig said.

After hearing the evidence, a Richmond County Superior Court jury took less than 15 minutes to convict Joshua Patterson, 33.

The judge said it was also important to consider that five months before breaking into the Gardner Street home of William and Kinga Kiss-Johnson, Patterson broke into an empty grocery store and caused more than $100,000 in damage. Instead of reflecting on such a bad deed and deciding to change his way, Patterson kept stealing, Craig said.

The May 7, 2012, burglary and wounding of Kinga Kiss-Johnson’s dog, Balto, turned their lives upside down, she said. Their lives had been settling into normalcy, with Balto providing Kiss-Johnson the independence she lost when the enemy attacked her vehicle in Afghanistan in late 2007. Her neck and back were broken. She had a brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Kiss-Johnson said Thursday that the judge was in the best position to decide Patterson’s sentence. Her mother taught her to forgive, but she didn’t want such a crime to happen to someone else, Kiss-Johnson said, with Balto and her husband by her side.

Assistant District Attorney John Markwalter asked for the maximum sentence. Even if Patterson were truthful when he told sheriff investigators that two other men went into the home and he served as a lookout, he was a willing participant in an armed break-in that left an injured soldier’s service dog with two gunshot wounds.

Patterson attributed his behavior to methamphetamine use. In prison – where he is serving a 10-year sentence he received Feb. 15, 2013, for the grocery store burglary – he is in drug rehab every day. He is working on a GED and he started a prayer circle, Patterson said.

“Please have mercy on me,” he asked.

Patterson had options, the judge said. He could have sought help for his drug addiction, for a chance to earn his way just like everyone else, Craig said. Also, his sentence needs to speak to anyone else who believes in violating others and stealing the things they have worked hard for. The sentence needs to speak to the people who have learned of the Johnsons and Balto, Craig said.

He imposed a 20-year sentence for burglary and five years for aggravated cruelty to animals. The sentences are consecutive to each other and consecutive to the prison term he is now serving.

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The Savage Madame
The Savage Madame 02/06/14 - 04:32 pm
He deserves every minute of

He deserves every minute of his sentence.

TheGeorgian 02/06/14 - 04:49 pm
Bravo to the Court

Forgive my skepticism about the defendant having 'found' religion. He needed be held where his commitment to religion will be tried....and he will be. Thank you so much for this conviction.

Pops 02/06/14 - 11:20 pm

according to his testimony, he din do nothin'.

CobaltGeorge 02/06/14 - 11:21 pm
Kiss-Johnson And Husband,

I had the very great pleasure of meeting both of you and Balto right after your first break in and robbery. I was the one who donated my Veteran's wide screen TV who we took care of for over 22 years. You lost just about everything in that robbery. The short time that we shared proved beyond a doubt, your loyalty and bravery to America.
You have suffered some real hard times in life and I am so glad that you are ok and Balto is still at your side. Thanks to a very good judge that I know, Justice was very well served. Take care, my Veteran Sister.

myfather15 02/07/14 - 06:48 am
I'm also not judging his

I'm also not judging his personal relationship with God!! That's between those two!!

But I will state a fact I've observed, over my 17 years in law enforcement. It's really easy to find "religion" when your free will is severely restricted to the inside of a prison!! But, when your outside with ALL those decisions available to be made, it's not so easy to give Him your time!! I've also known MANY people that said they found "religion" while inside, then get out and go right back to how they were!!

It's like quiting drugs!! Sure, it's easier to quit drugs while incarcerated!! You just don't have it readily available!! Yes, drugs are inside prisons and jails, but you will also pay 10 times more for the amount you buy, so only a limited amount of people are able to afford drugs in prison!!

Bottom line; this guy is right where he needs to be!! Hopefully, he will change his life and his finding God is sincere; but that is between them. Judge Craig did the right thing in protecting the citizens!!

JRC2024 02/07/14 - 07:40 am


corgimom 02/07/14 - 08:54 am
Nobody told him to do meth,

Nobody told him to do meth, he did all of this to himself. He got exactly what he deserved.

Truth Matters
Truth Matters 02/07/14 - 09:08 am
A service dog truly becomes a

A service dog truly becomes a member of the family. And they are expensive. It's a cruel act to injure one.

Darby 02/07/14 - 01:06 pm
Some human beings give lie

to the theory that there is good in all of us.

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