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23-Year Sentence In Seattle Stray Bullet Killing

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File photo of a gavel in front of a judge in a courtroom.  (Credit: Thinkstock)

File photo of a gavel in front of a judge in a courtroom. (Credit: Thinkstock)

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SEATTLE (AP) — The man who killed a motorist in his line of fire as he was shooting at another man on a Seattle street was sentenced Friday to 23 years in prison.

King County prosecutors had recommended a 19-year sentence for Andrew Patterson, 21, and his lawyer had asked for a 13-year term. The standard sentencing range, including a firearm enhancement, is 15 to 23 years.

Patterson pleaded guilty in July to second-degree murder.

Authorities said Patterson was shooting at someone in a dispute in May of 2012 as Justin Ferrari drove through an intersection in the Central District with family members. Ferrari, 42, a software engineer, was hit in the head and died in his father’s arms in front of his children, ages 4 and 7.

Patterson was arrested after a two-month investigation in which detectives tracked him through surveillance videos, cellphone records and a confidential source.

“Essentially this was a crazy, fluky, tragic, horrible accident. There was nothing intentional, it was just a very terrible coincidence that he was in the line of fire,” defense lawyer Aimee Sutton told The Seattle Times.

Ferrari’s widow, Maggie Hooks, requested and received an unusual meeting with her husband’s killer in August. It was prompted by a Florida family’s meeting with a man who killed their daughter, the Times said.

The concept of victims meeting with criminals is known as “restorative justice” and is intended to be part of the healing process, the paper said.

It was an emotional meeting in a Seattle courtroom, with Patterson and Hooks surrounded by lawyers, police and jail guards.

Hooks explained how she and her children were coping. She spoke about their loss and how it had changed their lives. Patterson apologized and expressed remorse, the newspaper said.

Patterson agreed to the meeting because he felt Hooks and her family deserved it, Sutton said.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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