Suspect in alleged beating death of Adrian Peterson's son reportedly has history of domestic violence

Kelly Wright reports from New York


The suspect in the alleged beating death of NFL star Adrian Peterson’s two-year-old son reportedly has a history of domestic violence against women and children.

Joseph Patterson, 27, was charged with aggravated assault and aggravated battery in the child’s death and is being held on a $750,000 cash bond. Patterson was reportedly involved in a romantic relationship with the boy’s mother, and the couple had recently moved in together.

Lincoln County State’s Attorney Tom Wollman confirmed the death of the unidentified child, who had been in critical condition in a hospital with severe head injuries since Wednesday. The boy died at 11:43 a.m. at Sandford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls after being removed from life support Friday, Wollman said.

Court records show Patterson was previously indicted in 2012 on counts of simple assault of a woman and her 3-year-old son, The Argus Leader reported.

Patterson was accused of spanking the 3-year-old with such force that the mother had to ice the injury, The Argus Leader reported. The boy’s mother reportedly wrote in the complaint that Patterson then grabbed her by the throat and had threatened “to kill me multiple times.” Patterson also has a child with the woman, The Argus Leader reported.

The report says Patterson was sentenced to a year in jail for the charges and for violating a no contact order, but the sentenced was suspended on terms that he undergo counseling.

Police say Patterson was the only one in the home with the 2-year-old boy when paramedics responded to the call.

Peterson left the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday to be in Sioux Falls for a “personal situation,” but returned to practice with the team Friday.

Speaking to reporters about an hour after the time of death, Peterson said he was certain he'll play Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.

"I'll be ready to roll, focused," Peterson said. "I will be playing Sunday, without a doubt."

"Football is something I will always fall back on," Peterson said. "It gets me through tough times. Just being around the guys in here, that's what I need in my life, guys supporting me. ... Things that I go through, I've said a thousand times, it helps me play this game to a different level. I'm able to kind of release a lot of my stress through this sport, so that's what I plan on doing."

As news of the boy’s death spread Friday athletes and celebrities took to social media to offer their condolences.

"Sick for my friend. Strong guy but this will bring the strongest down," NBA star LeBron James tweeted.

"You and your family are in my prayers," Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III tweeted.

"It's absolutely terrible. Our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family, and hopefully things work out," Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said.

Peterson is the second in the NFL with 421 yards rushing and first in the league with five touchdowns. He came back from reconstructive knee surgery to rush for 2,097 yards and win the league MVP award last season.

"The NFL is a fraternity of brothers and I am thankful for the tweets, phone calls and text messages from my fellow players," Peterson tweeted Friday.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.