published Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Slain man shot while mowing, sheriff says

  • photo
    Jason Paul Baker, 32, of Riceville, Tenn., is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting and stabbing death of longtime Calhoun, Tenn., volunteer firefighter Dennis Patterson.
    Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

A Calhoun, Tenn., volunteer firefighter was found shot and stabbed to death Sunday and today his wife's nephew remains held without bond in the slaying on first-degree murder charges, authorities said.

McMinn County authorities say longtime Calhoun volunteer firefighter Dennis Patterson was killed Sunday by his wife's nephew as he was mowing his yard.

Sheriff Joe Guy said Jason Paul Baker, 32, had lived at 4696 U.S. Highway 11 S. with Patterson and his wife, Lois, since he recently was released from prison.

Baker, who the sheriff said might be "suffering from a mental defect," shot Dennis Patterson with a shotgun and stabbed him in the wake of an argument that began after Lois Patterson left for work in Monroe County on Sunday, he said.

A neighbor heard gunfire and called 911 to report that shots had been fired and that someone was moving around what appeared to be a human body, he said.

When Deputy Sgt. Mike Hayes got to the home on U.S. Highway 11 between Riceville and Calhoun, he found Dennis Patterson dead and Baker covered in blood, Guy said.

Baker was "making statements indicating he killed Mr. Patterson," the sheriff said. He said it appeared Baker had "attempted to cover up the crime and move evidence" before police arrived.

Baker has a "lengthy criminal record" and had been released from prison in the last couple of weeks, Guy said. The sheriff said he was not sure of what crimes Baker had been convicted or where he had been n prison.

Patterson had been shot and stabbed several times. His body has been sent for an autopsy. Investigators recovered a shotgun and several knives from the crime scene, he said.

Calhoun Public Library librarian Kristi Swafford said the longtime firefighter's death was a shock to the Calhoun and Riceville communities where people are "at a loss for words."

Swafford's husband, Joe, is Calhoun's fire chief and the two men had worked together since she met her husband and Patterson in 1995.

"He gave everything to the fire department to make it what it is," Swafford said. "He was wonderful. Everybody knew him. He was very well-liked."

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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