Patricia Wright

Los Angeles County, California
Date of Crime:  September 19, 1981

Patricia Gordy Wright was convicted in 1999 of the 1981 murder of her ex-husband, Willie Jerome Scott. Jerome was found stabbed to death in his motor home while it was parked in a bad area in downtown Los Angeles. Jerome's homosexual lifestyle led to the dissolution of the couple's marriage. It also led him to some unsavory partners and placed him in some dangerous situations. No physical or forensic evidence connects Wright to the crime.

Prior to Wright's arrest, there were three previous suspects in the case. Police were unable to locate Jerome's gay-lover or the male prostitute he was last seen with. In 1995, Wright's brother, Larry, who was angry at his sister, pointed a finger at her and at Larry Slaughter, a family friend.  Two years later, Wright was arrested based on her brother's statement.  However, after being taken before Judge Lance Ito, she was released for lack of evidence.  Two weeks later, she was again arrested and taken before a different judge.  The police claimed to have a taped statement from Slaughter in which he claimed he was hired by Wright to murder Jerome for $25,000.  Without hearing the tape, this judge decided there was sufficient evidence to hold her.  Wright's attorney later demanded to hear the tape, but police claimed the tape was lost.  Slaughter later claimed that police taped him giving them them a statement, but in the statement he told them he knew nothing about the murder and did not know what they were talking about.

At trial, Slaughter did not testify, but a detective gave hearsay testimony as to his incriminating statements against Wright that were supposedly on the “lost” tape.  Wright's brother, Larry, also testified and stated that he lied in his statement to police, that he knew nothing about Jerome's murder, and that Wright never made any admissions to him about it.  However, a detective gave testimony about being present when Larry gave his statement.

To establish a motive, the state presented the testimony of an insurance agent who “remembered” selling Wright life insurance on her husband some 20 years before. The testimony had to be videotaped, as the agent, then 83, was confined to a nursing facility because of his Alzheimer's disease.  Wright's attorney had no opportunity to cross-examine the agent.  Since her conviction, Wright has gathered evidence that largely refutes the life insurance claim.  Besides her own wrongful conviction, Wright also believes that Slaughter was wrongly convicted at his separate trial.  [3/08]

Reference:   Justice: Denied

Posted in:  Victims of the State, Los Angeles Cases, Husband Murder Cases, Homosexuality Related Cases