The man accused of beating Adrian Peterson’s son to death has been formally charged with second degree murder, a charge that carries a mandatory life sentence in the state of South Dakota. Joseph Patterson will also face charges of first degree manslaughter, battery of an infant and felony child abuse.
Patterson was dating the dead child’s mother, a former acquaintance of Adrian Peterson’s, at the time of the alleged assault. Police say Patterson called 911 to report that the child had been choking and when EMTs arrived they found the boy unresponsive. The child showed signs of having been abused and Patterson was taken into custody. The child lapsed into a coma and was later taken off life support and passed away.
Peterson, who had no relationship with the boy previously and only learned of his paternity in the last few months, rushed to Sioux Falls, South Dakota upon learning news of the assault. He met his son for the first time in the hospital with the child on life support. Somewhat controversially in some people’s minds, Peterson returned to Minnesota from Sioux Falls that weekend to play in a game against the Carolina Panthers.
Peterson attended the boy’s funeral this past week. Tabloids have spent the last couple weeks revealing the existence of several more “secret children” Peterson has fathered with multiple women, leading to much media hand-wringing over the state of Peterson’s character and American morality in general.