Judge to Decide on New Trial Request from Convicted Murderer

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EDINBURG – A McAllen woman convicted of murder late last year was back in court Monday.

The defense counsel is seeking a new trial for Monica Melissa Patterson.

There was a lot of back and forth between the defense and the state in the Hidalgo County courtroom.

Ultimately, this was the time for the defense to argue what Patterson should be granted a new trial. 

Patterson is accused in the 2015 death of 96-year-old Martin Knell while working at Casa de Consuelo Comfort House.

In November of last year, she was found guilty of capital murder, theft, attempted theft and misapplication of fiduciary funds.

She was set to spend life in prison without parole for the capital murder conviction.

On Monday, that was the main focus for the defense. They argue Patterson should not be charged with capital murder.

In order for a charge to go from murder to capital murder, there needs to be evidence of remuneration. That’s a legal term for showing that Patterson benefited from Knell’s death.

"First argument with respect to Count 1 is that the evidence is insufficient to allow capital murder under the law of parties. The evidence show that if anything Patterson can only be guilty of capital murder as a party. The only evidence in the record placed her outside of Mr. Knell's home at the time of the alleged murder," stated the defense.

In addition to the defense arguing insufficient evidence, they claim the following: a witness was unreliable and shouldn't have testified, that the medical examiner provided what was "not a medical testimony" instead of focusing on autopsy, relying on police investigation reported that stated Knell was killed by asphyxiation and that video and audio recordings should not have been presented during the trial.

If the judge rules in favor of a retrial, the case will start over again with a brand new jury.

The judge has until Jan. 16 to make a ruling.

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