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Originally published Friday, July 20, 2012 at 10:17 PM

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How police broke the case in slaying of Madrona dad

Andrew Jermain Patterson, the man accused of fatally shooting software engineer Jason Ferrari at a Seattle intersection in May, has been charged with second-degree murder and is being held on $2 million bail.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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The man who shot Justin Ferrari on May 24 was outside a corner store with several other men when one called him an insulting name, according to witnesses quoted in court documents.

In response, Andrew Jermain Patterson pulled a gun and fired, say charging documents filed Friday in King County Superior Court.

Patterson aimed at the man who insulted him, prosecutors say, but he hit Ferrari, a 43-year-old software engineer from Madrona who was in his van with his parents and children at East Cherry Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

In documents charging Patterson with second-degree murder, prosecutors spell out how police investigators built their case against the 20-year-old Federal Way man.

Despite multiple dead ends during the two-month investigation, investigators ultimately collected enough pieces of the puzzle, including Metro bus-surveillance videos, interviews, cellphone records and information from a confidential source to arrest Patterson.

Gang-unit detectives told homicide investigators there had been a rash of "possible gang activity" where Ferrari was shot and that several young men fit the general description of the suspect, charging documents say.

Witnesses told police the suspect had corn rows and wore a distinctive red jacket with a black design on it, court documents say.

Detectives found the man who insulted the shooter. Known as "Crazy John," he identified a few of the people on the corner with him that afternoon, but Patterson was not among them, prosecutors say in charging papers.

Police got a tip about a woman who was on the bus with the shooter that day and witnessed the argument and the shooting, court documents say.

When investigators tracked her down, she allowed them to get data from her phone, prosecutors said.

The court documents say she sent one text that said, "lol too funny as I sat and saw the whole thing play out up until a innocent person got shot. ... "

Detectives determined what bus routes the woman took and submitted requests for in-bus videos.

On video recordings from Metro, detectives found images of a man boarding a Route 3 bus at 3:40 p.m. May 24 at James Street, court papers say.

The man had corn rows and was wearing a red North Face jacket with black and gray features. He had diamond-like stud earrings and red shoes, charges say.

As he exited the bus, he swiped an ORCA card, and detectives got a screen-captured still photo of him, according to charging papers.

Police began to circulate the photo and requested a search warrant for information about the ORCA card.

Metro records showed the card, which had been reported stolen, was used in and around the Federal Way Transit Center and Green River Community College in the hours before the shooting, charging documents say.

On June 23, a gang-unit detective who had been looking into friends and associates of the people named by "Crazy John" found a booking photo of Patterson, whose listed address was in Federal Way, charges say.

Patterson was due to appear in Auburn Municipal Court the next day on a domestic-violence charge. The prosecutor in that case gave police the name and phone number of the victim, Patterson's girlfriend, charges say.

Detectives went to her apartment, which is near Green River Community College, and noted surveillance cameras throughout the complex. They found an employee who said he knew almost every resident and was "very observant of activity." The man recognized the photo of Patterson as a visitor of a tenant, prosecutors said.

Detectives reviewed surveillance video from the complex and found images of Patterson — in corn rows and diamond-like stud earrings — leaving the girlfriend's apartment two day's before Ferrari's death, charges say.

Prosecutors also say police obtained cellphone records that indicate Patterson was at the corner where Ferrari was killed when the fatal shot was fired.

Patterson is being held at King County Jail on $2 million bail and is to be arraigned Aug. 2. He faces a sentence of 15 to 23 years if convicted as charged.

Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or cclarridge@seattletimes.com

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