Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

'I can't describe it': Peterson

Tougher charges pending for accused killer of RB's son

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Prosecutors expect to ask a grand jury to consider more serious charges in the death of the two-year-old son of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.

Tom Wollman, Lincoln County state's attorney, said Tuesday he'll review the recently completed autopsy findings and other reports before looking at any new charges against Joseph Robert Patterson, 27.

"We'll seek a grand jury review in the near future," Wollman said.

Peterson, who has declined to discuss the relationship he had with the boy, rushed to the Sioux Falls hospital to see the child Thursday, missing practice. He returned to Minneapolis for Friday's practice and learned that the child died.

He played Sunday in the Vikings' loss to the Carolina Panthers.

"Anytime you lose a child, no matter the circumstances, it hurts," Peterson told reporters after the game. "I can't describe it."

Sioux Falls police identified the boy Tuesday as Tyrese Robert Ruffin, who died Friday after being hospitalized with severe head injuries. Earlier Tuesday, they'd given an incorrect surname.

Patterson, the boyfriend of Tyrese's mother, was charged last week with aggravated assault and aggravated battery and is being held on $750,000 cash bond. A message left for Patterson's attorney Tuesday was not returned, and Patterson's mother said she didn't want to comment.

The criminal complaint accuses Patterson of intentionally or recklessly injuring Tyrese by causing bleeding of the skull or brain damage by blows, shaking or making the boy's head impact an object or surface.

Prosecutors are also asking that a suspended sentence be imposed for a 2012 domestic assault conviction, saying the deal required Patterson to show no violent, threatening or assaultive behaviour for three years. A hearing on the motion is scheduled for Oct. 30.

Lincoln County court records also show a July 2012 protection order was taken out against Patterson, in which he had to stay 1,000 feet away from a former girlfriend, their son and her two other boys for five years. The woman told the court that Patterson spanked her three-year-old son's bare bottom until it had welts after hearing the boy acted up at church.

The woman asked the court to drop the protection order two months later, saying she wanted their son to be raised by both his mother and father.

No plans for a memorial service for Tyrese have been announced, and his relatives told The Associated Press they did not wish to talk to reporters.


-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 16, 2013 C5

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