Carjacker pleads guilty to attack of elderly woman at Tabernacle store

Roy Patterson

MOUNT HOLLY — A Shamong man pleaded guilty Tuesday to robbery and the violent carjacking of an elderly woman in the parking lot of a Tabernacle grocery store last year.

Roy C. Patterson Jr., 36, a previously convicted felon, admitted that he pulled the Southampton woman, who was 77 at the time, from her car and slammed her to the pavement during the June 15, 2011, attack in the Murphy’s Market lot on Medford Lakes-Tabernacle Road.

The negotiated plea calls for Patterson to serve 25 years in state prison, with no chance of parole until he serves more than 21 years, according to the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office. Superior Court Judge Jeanne T. Covert, who accepted Patterson’s plea to robbery and carjacking, will sentence him Sept. 7.

After throwing the woman to the ground, Patterson backed her vehicle out of the parking spot with the passenger-side door open and struck the victim, who was already seriously hurt, authorities said.

The woman was treated at Virtua Memorial in Mount Holly.

The random attack was witnessed by others in the lot and was captured on surveillance videotape, the New Jersey State Police said at the time. The eyewitnesses and the video footage helped the state police identify Patterson as the assailant, authorities said.

Patterson told the judge he initially fought with and grabbed the keys of another Murphy’s Market patron, a 32-year-old Medford man, before turning his attention to the woman. He acknowledged that after the carjacking, he was headed to Camden to get drugs, authorities said.

Patterson never made it to the city, crashing the victim’s car in Somerdale, Camden County. He attempted to flee the scene but was apprehended by police. Patterson has been in Burlington County Jail since his arrest on $350,000 bail. He will remain in county custody until his sentencing, at which time he will be transferred to state prison.

Because of his criminal record, Patterson will be sentenced as a persistent offender, Burlington County Assistant Prosecutor Stephen Bodnar said. He has four previous convictions, including robbery and drug possession, according to state records.

New Jersey Department of Corrections records show he recently served two stints in prison, for six months between September 2008 and March 2009 and for seven months between June 2009 and January 2010.

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