Kody Cree Patten, 19, gets life without parole for murdering classmate in Wendover
ELKO, Nev. — "Your blood runs cold, Mr. Patten. There shall be no possibility of parole."
Those words from Elko District Judge Daniel Papez Friday prompted cheers from the family of murdered West Wendover High School student Micaela "Mickey" Costanzo.
The final chapter in the 2011 brutal killing of 16-year-old Micaela was written Friday in an Elko courtroom when 19-year-old Kody Cree Patten was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Papez said he considered Patten's young age when handing down his sentence. But what outweighed that concern was the crime itself. Papez called it "the worst kind of murder."
"Micaelea's murder was carried out with gruesome, vicious, merciless violence," Papez said, while also noting that it was premeditated.
Patten, clean-shaven and wearing a suit, stood with his hands behind his back and showed little to no emotion as the sentence was issued.
Earlier in the hearing, Micaela's father pointed at Patten from the witness stand and angrily demanded answers.
"You had no right, kid. You had no right to do that. I got a question for you though: Why don't you tell me why. Why'd you harm her?" Theodore Anthony Costanzo Jr. asked.
The prosecutor had to quiet Costanzo, telling him to stick to answering questions.
When asked what sentence he believed should be imposed, the father replied: "I want him to walk into that penitentiary, and when he leaves it, he'll be in a box."
When it was Patten's turn to address the court, he took several long pauses, appearing to collect his thoughts — sometimes reaching for a tissue — and told the court he continues to go over in his head what happened that day.
But he couldn't answer why he killed the girl.
"I've sat and tried to go over it and over it. There's no reason, there's no why, no justification for it. Sorry's not enough. I apologize for everything. I'm sorry," he said.
"I can't describe what happened, can't even begin to describe it," he said. "Sorry isn't enough. … I wish I could ask for forgiveness but I don't feel I deserve it."
During his rambling speech, Patten said Micaela "was always good to me" and "anything a friend could ask for."
"The more I stand here, the more I see how horrible this is," he said. "Her family didn't deserve it. Mickey didn't deserve it."
Patten then recited part of a poem that Micaela had written, talking about a glimmer of beauty beneath "all the ugly" in the world.
"Micaela was the glimmer of beauty for people," Patten said, which caused her mother, Cecilia Costanzo, to cry even harder.
In May, Patten accepted a plea deal, pleading guilty to first-degree murder in exchange for being spared the death penalty.
The deal came after co-defendant Toni Fratto — Patten's former girlfriend — struck her own plea deal in April and also avoided a possible death penalty, pleading guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree murder. Fratto, 19, was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. She will serve a minimum 18 years in prison before being eligible to be released.
Though both defendants have pleaded guilty, each side still has very differing accounts of what actually happened, each maintaining that the other party was more culpable.
- Watch: LDS Church news conference about...
- LDS leaders reemphasize protection of...
- Fear of pending apocalypse led to...
- LDS statement could move Utah...
- Attorneys want BYU track team testimony...
- Man accused in BYU gropings accepts diversion...
- LDS apostle Elder David A. Bednar offers...
- 'I feel like I do deserve to be here,' Dea...
- LDS leaders reemphasize protection of... 128
- Lawmakers looking to pump up gas tax... 60
- Sen. Mike Lee urges conservative... 35
- Watch: LDS Church news conference about... 33
- Are you willing to pay more for your... 25
- Concealed permit holder stopped armed... 24
- Darrien Hunt's mother pleads not guilty... 20
- Utah residents rank air pollution as... 19