A grand jury in Lincoln County, S.D. has returned an indictment of murder in the second degree for Joseph Patterson, the man believed to have beaten to death the two-year-old son of NFL star Adrian Peterson.
Patterson allegedly assaulted and murdered Tyrese Robert Ruffin, the toddler son of the Minnesota Vikings tailback. Patterson was originally charged with two felonies for assault, but State’s Attorney Tom Wollman elevated the charge when Ruffin died a day and a half after he was put on life support.
Second-degree murder is a Class B felony in South Dakota and carries A mandatory life sentence if Patterson is convicted.
Additional counts of first-degree manslaughter, aggravated battery of an infant and abuse or cruelty to a minor have also been filed.
Patterson has a history of domestic and child abuse, replete with restraining orders issued against him in the last nine years. He was the only one in the room with the toddler when Ruffin was beaten, according to police.
Peterson had never met his son until he visited the hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D. while the boy was on life support. Peterson first learned the child was his two months earlier. He had begun supporting the mother financially.
Peterson attended the boy’s funeral last Thursday after being excused from practice.