“I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it,” Patterson said.
She is the first woman to receive the statewide honor. “I was really surprised. I have no idea who nominated me.”
Helms called Patterson her hero for being able to win a murder case in another circuit without a body. Patterson successfully prosecuted former LaFayette police sergeant Sam Parker for the murder of his estranged wife Teresa.
Parker was found guilty of murder in Walker County on Sept. 3, even though his wife’s body has never been recovered.
While accepting the award, Patterson handed out special thanks to Sam Weaver, an investigator in her office, and Assistant DA Natalee Staats, who helped prosecute the Parker case. She also said her Chief Assistant DA Martha Jacobs did a great job handling cases in the Rome office while Patterson was in LaFayette on the Parker case.
During the last 12 months, Patterson led the way in locking up a duo whose murderous extra-marital tryst captured national headlines. Richard Scott Harper and Michelle Sullins Reynolds now reside behind bars for their parts in the grisly killing of Reynolds’ husband, Thad Reynolds.
Recently, Patterson called for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to investigate former Floyd County Magistrate Judge Chris Mathis, who is now facing theft charges stemming from what the GBI called a fraudulent investment scheme.
Helms also said Patterson was deserving of the honor for successfully defending an ethics complaint over her winning a Best Barbecue competition in Cave Spring in 2008. A complaint alleged the prize winnings were not properly reported on Patterson’s campaign finance forms.
Patterson has been District Attorney in Floyd County since January 2003. She interned for two summers in the local district attorney’s office in 1988 and 1989, and then joined the staff in 1990. Patterson resigned her post as an assistant DA in 2002 to run for the office.