Man Who Killed 5-Year-Old Son At Patten Towers In 2003 Gets 15-Year Sentence

Monday, September 17, 2012

A man who told officers about beating, choking and drowning his five-year-old son at his Patten Towers apartment in 2003 on Monday morning pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

Dedrick Lamont Atkins, who was 26 at the time of the incident, was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Prosecutor Neal Pinkston said Atkins has remained in custody since the incident, mainly at the Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute. He said it was only in 2011 that he was ruled competent to stand trial.

Atkins told Criminal Court Judge Don Poole that he has been "hearing voices" since he was a child.

Judge Poole stressed that he should stay on his medicines "so you do not harm yourself or others."

Atkins had been charged with first-degree murder.  

He will be given credit for the time he was held in psychiatric facilities.

Atkins was charged in the death of five-year-old Dedric Johnson. The child was found lifeless in his father's third-floor apartment after his father reported him dead to the lobby security guard, who in turn called police and paramedics.

Atkins, who has a lengthy criminal record, was interviewed for several hours afterward at the Police Service Center by both child abuse and homicide detectives.  

Police said the child died from extreme blunt and physical trauma.

This was five-year-old Dedric's first visitation with his estranged father, it was stated.

Police said Atkins refused to give a statement to officers, but that he "made spontaneous statements to EMS personnel about killing the child. He gave details how he beat, choked and drowned the victim."

It said an examination of the child showed trauma about the head, ligature marks around the neck, and that his clothes were wet.

In 2004, a $1 million lawsuit was filed in the death of the child brought by Sherry Johnson, mother of the young victim.

It was filed against Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute, Dr. Doloroso B Yap, Patten Towers LP II, Yarco Company and Walden Security.

The suit says the child was killed "by his mentally ill father." It says the father had been released by Moccasin Bend on Sept. 19, though a few days earlier he was deemed too dangerous to be released.

The complaint was also brought against Patten Towers, claiming inadequate security.


Get Emailed Headlines From Chattanoogan.com; Like Us On Facebook, Twitter For Instant News

We send out headlines each day of the latest Chattanooga news. Our news headlines have links that take you to the stories with a click. We also send out special emails if there is a highly significant local news story breaking so you will be aware of it quickly. To be added to the email headline list, just email us at news@chattanoogan.com In addition, like us on Facebook ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ARMOUR, NEAL LAVON  172 SIGNAL HILLS DRIVE CHATTANOOGA, 37405  Age at Arrest: 42 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County BURGLARY (GENERAL CATEGORY) --- BEAM, KENNETH HOWARD  2614 LYNDON AVENUE APT A 4 RED BANK, 37415  Age at Arrest: 49 years old Arresting Agency: Red Bank ... (click for more)

Do Something To Protect Our Children

It is unconscionable in this day and age that these children had to exist in such deplorable conditions and that an innocent baby suffered and died alone in a locked car.  Yes, there is blame and accountability considering this family had child neglect charges filed a few years ago (that were apparently dropped and expunged) and a large part of the responsibility should ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Not Many Know This

The best story of the summer – by far – came out of Panama City over the Fourth of July weekend when over 80 total strangers on a Panama City beach responded to screams. Two boys, ages 14 and 11, were caught in a rip tide and all of these “angels” quickly formed a human chain -- over 80 people with their arms locked -- to stretch out in the water, reach those kids and tug them out ... (click for more)

Thompson, Bell Win Scenic City Scorcher Race

Saturday was another record-breaking day for runners in Chattanooga and we aren’t talking about the heat and humidity. It was the third-annual Scenic City Scorcher two-mile race held in flat and fast Heritage Landing where 48 of the 120 participants broke a Tennessee state record for their particular age. Christian Thompson was the overall winner for the second-straight year ... (click for more)

Lookouts Rally Falls Short In Sunday's 6-4 Loss At Mobile

MOBILE, Ala.  -- Sherman Johnson hit a two-run double in the second inning, and Alberto Triunfel singled three times as the Mobile BayBears topped the Chattanooga Lookouts 6-4 on Sunday.  Trailing 6-1, the Lookouts rallied for three runs in the eighth inning but that would be all for the night. Lookouts starting pitcher Felix Jorge (8-2) was shelled for the second ... (click for more)