Stephen Patterson

County of Conviction:

Convicted of:





case details

Stephen Patterson was wrongfully convicted of a gang shooting and murder in South Central LA in 2007. Despite an alibi and two very plausible third-party suspects, Stephen was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

A.  The First Encounter

On April 15, 2005, around 5:00 p.m., a group of about six Hispanic men belonging to the Florencia 13 (“F13”) gang, including Yair Oliva and Juan Sedano, were standing in front of an apartment complex on 67th Street and Parmelee Street in Los Angeles, California. During this time, Colleen Enriquez stood on the front porch of her house while her mother, Esther Gonzalez, watered their grass. Enriquez saw a Black man approach the corner where the six men stood. The F13 members shouted racial slurs and threw out gang signs toward the man. The man also threw out gang signs in return, then turned and walked down 66th Street.

B.  The Second Encounter 

About fifteen to twenty minutes later, the same man returned with another individual.  Enriquez and Gonzalez feared what might happen, went inside their home, and peeked through the shut window blinds. Enriquez watched the men through the front window of her home while Gonzalez looked out of a corner bedroom window. Enriquez saw a man she later identified as Patterson, standing on Parmelee Street between 66th and 67th Streets. Allegedly, Patterson pulled out a handgun from the back of his jacket and started shooting.  The other man stood on the sidewalk on the east side of the street and had a handgun as well.  Enriquez heard the shooters fire about five shots.  After the two men finished shooting, they ran off toward 66th Street.  Enriquez saw Oliva on the ground and asked Gonzalez to call 9-1-1.  Oliva died of one gunshot wound to his face, entering at the right lower lip.

C.  The Identification

Enriquez told Detective Mitch Robinson she recognized one of the shooters but did not know his name.  She eventually identified Patterson.  Later, it was determined she was not able to see the events from her location.

D.  The Defense

Patterson was on the phone in his house when the shooting happened.  He hung up the phone and went to his porch when he heard the shots.  Numerous witnesses spotted Patterson on his porch shortly after hearing the gunshots.  The same witnesses watched as the two true perpetrators ran past Patterson’s house and continued to 67th and Compton Avenue.  Stephen Patterson was a witness just as everyone else on the street was.  

E.  Present

The Innocence Center has discovered the identity of the two true perpetrators.  TIC presented this information to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit.  

On March 11, 2024, The Innocence Center and the Los Angeles District Attorney filed a joint petition for writ of habeas corpus and a joint motion for a finding of factual innocence.  The Honorable William C. Ryan exonerated Stephen Patterson and declared him factually innocent.

The Innocence Center’s Press Release can be found here.

Stephen Patterson and The Innocence Center staff

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