Craig Patterson murder trial goes to the jury

Julian Dawkins was shot and killed in late May. Photo: Dawkins family

(WJLA) - The case of an Arlington County Sheriff's deputy who is accused of shooting a man to death in Alexandria has gone to the jury.

Closing arguments in the trial of Craig Patterson wrapped up{ }Thursday after a 3+ day trial, in which he's alleged to have shot 23-year-old Julian Dawkins to death in a neighborhood just north of Del Ray.

Dawkins and Patterson got into an altercation on the night of May 22, and at some point, prosecutors say that Patterson shot Dawkins to death.

Patterson's lawyers claim that Dawkins pulled a knife on him; a knife was found on the shooting victim, but it was folded up at the time.

Witnesses described the contentious argument which escalated to violence earlier in the trial. Patterson claims that Dawkins charged at him with the knife.

"It was silent," one witness said in court Tuesday. "(The) only thing you heard was that one shot."

During Thursday's closing arguments, prosecutors said that Patterson felt angry and disrespected after a Skype chat with his fiancee, coupled with the disrespect he felt he got from Dawkins.

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Bryan Porter simply stated that Patterson intentionally killed Dawkins and said that Patterson's testimony was "absurd." He added that all Patterson had to do to defuse the situation was call 911.

"The crux of the matter here is the break in the action," Porter said in reference to the point where Patterson allegedly left the argument, went home and retrieved his badge, handcuffs and gun at home. "None of this would have happened if he had just pushed three buttons on his phone."

In rebuttal, defense attorney Megan Thomas continued to accuse Dawkins of being an "angry, drunk, belligerent man armed with a deadly weapon."

Thomas cast the prosecution's evidence as fraught with problems and full of unreliable witnesses.

"(The witnesses) are so angry at (Patterson), and want to make him pay," Thomas said. "They're not telling you the whole story."

Jeff Goldberg contributed to this report.