Murder victim's mother after Pettey guilty verdict: 'I just want to know why he did it'

Mary Patterson, second from left, the mother of Sandra Fugate, reacts after Calvin Duane Pettey is found guilty in the shooting death of Fugate in 2010. (H-W Photo/Phil Carlson)
Posted: Jun. 21, 2012 8:47 am Updated: Nov. 29, 2014 12:18 am
Family and friends of Sandra Fugate embrace in the hallway of the Audrain County Courthouse shortly after Calvin Duane Pettey was found guilty of first-degree murder. (H-W Photo/Phil Carlson)

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

MEXICO, Mo. -- Mary Patterson has one question for the man convicted of killing her daughter, Sandra Fugate.

"I just want to know why he did it," said Patterson, minutes after Calvin Duane Pettey was found guilty of first-degree murder Wednesday by an Audrain County jury after a three-day trial. "Why didn't he just leave her?"

Six men and six women on the jury deliberated for a little more than three hours before finding Pettey guilty of killing the 32-year-old Fugate in her Hannibal home more than two years ago. Pettey and Fugate were supposed to be married two days after her body was found by Patterson in Fugate's home on Iowa Street in Hannibal.

Members of Fugate's family and friends cried and raised fists when Judge Keith Sutherland read the verdict in the Audrain County Courthouse. The 42-year-old Pettey, who will be sentenced Aug. 27 to life in prison by Sutherland, showed little emotion when the verdict was read.

Patterson hugged friends and family outside the courthouse after Pettey, who will appeal the conviction, was led away. He will be lodged in the Marion County Jail until sentencing. Life in prison without parole is the mandatory sentence for first-degree murder in Missouri.

Patterson said friends and family have helped her get through "hell" since her daughter was murdered.

"They've all been with me from day one," she said through tears.

A group of women calling themselves "Sandy's Sisterhood" said Fugate was "finally as peace." One of them yelled "Guilty!" as they stood outside the courthouse on a warm summer day.

Key trial testimony came Tuesday morning from Rebecca Kirk, who said she and Pettey were lovers and plotted to kill Fugate because he didn't want to go through with a wedding planned for April 17, 2010. Kirk said she could not go through with several murder plans, although she did dispose of evidence and never told police or Fugate about the plot.

"She (Kirk) is just as guilty as he is," Patterson said. "Her day will come."

Marion County Prosecutor Tom Redington said he was "pleased" with the trial outcome, but did not say if Kirk will be charged. The statute of limitations is three years.

"You will just have to wait and see," said Redington.

Defense attorney Todd Schulze declined to comment when leaving the courtroom.

The trial lasted three days and featured about 70 exhibits and 27 witnesses.

During closing arguments Wednesday morning, Redington asked the jury to use common sense and talked at length about Kirk, who said she and Pettey had an affair in the two-plus months leading up to Fugate's death.

Kirk said Pettey made Kirk throw away evidence and told her he killed Fugate. Kirk had an affair with Pettey and lied about it, Redington said, but so did Pettey.

"You could see that she was upset and that she was telling the truth" while testifying, Redington said. "All of the other evidence, scientifically unchallenged, backs up what she said."

Redington told jurors to remember who was on trial.

"Today is not Becky's day in court. Today is Calvin Duane Pettey's day," Redington said. "Becky will get her day in court, but not today."

Redington said key testimony came from a statement Pettey gave to then-Hannibal Police Detective Seth McBride. When Pettey admitted telling Kirk he had "done something extreme for her (Kirk's) love," and then was told other detectives were interviewing Kirk, Pettey dropped his head and declined to say anything else.

"That's an admission of guilt if I ever heard one," Redington said. "His goose was cooked because the terrible secret was out."

Schulze told jurors the case was complicated with "huge problems." He noted the times Kirk lied and said "all the evidence connects her to this crime" and that Kirk only told the truth when it was "convenient."

"The Hannibal Police Department decided they had this case wrapped up in a couple of hours because Becky Kirk had it wrapped up in a nice little package," Schulze said.

The fact there were four variations of plans to kill Fugate shows Kirk's statement that "never in a million years" did she think Pettey would kill Fugate was a lie. He also wondered why a white box containing the rifle Kirk said Pettey gave her to get rid of wasn't also destroyed, along with a small piece of the rifle found on her when she was questioned by police.

"Why on God's green earth did she not burn this?" Schulze said, holding the box. "She forgot, maybe? Really?"

Schulze said the box and the gun part were the only things remotely connecting Pettey to "anything."

"You have a bunch of evidence, a bunch of lies and you have Becky," Schulze said. "Strike off Becky, and what do you have? Nothing. The government hasn't got a thing."





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