AZ Central: Teen gets 17 years for role in ASU student’s murder
A teenage accomplice in the 2010 murder of an Arizona State University student killed for his cellphone and laptop computer was sentenced to 17 years in prison on Friday in Maricopa County Superior Court.
Marion Patterson, 19, was already on probation for armed robbery when he and his uncle robbed and killed Zachary Marco, 21, an honors student who hoped to become an attorney.
The uncle, Louis Harper, 21, was the apparent triggerman. Harper pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, and on Nov. 7 he was sentenced to life in prison with a chance of parole after 25 years and a consecutive 15-year sentence for armed robbery.
Because he was not the shooter, Patterson was allowed to plead guilty to second-degree murder.
Judge Warren Granville also sentenced Patterson to five years in prison for violating parole, which will be served concurrently with the murder sentence.
Marco’s father, Daniel Marco, an attorney who formerly practiced criminal defense, expressed relief that the two cases had been resolved.
“I am finished,” he said outside the courthouse. “I made a vow to my son that I would see this through to the end, and this is the end.”
Daniel Marco said that he carries some of his son’s ashes in a necklace he wears.
According to court records, on Oct. 17, 2010, Patterson and Harper were riding through Tempe in a car when they saw Zachary Marco walking home from the ASU library, carrying a computer bag.
Harper and Patterson, who went by the street name “Bop,” got out of the car and tussled with Marco. Harper then shot Marco in the chest, and he and Patterson fled to the car.
The computer and the briefcase with Marco’s schoolwork were found days later, and police were able to lift Harper’s and Patterson’s fingerprints from them.
Police put Patterson under surveillance, and when they saw him get off a bus, they had to chase him through backyards and over fences before taking him into custody. They found a semiautomatic handgun in one of the yards, apparently discarded by Patterson during the chase.
At his sentencing on Friday, Patterson directly addressed Daniel Marco, claiming that he had found God and that he was a different person than when he and Harper assaulted Zachary.
Then he asked Judge Granville for leniency because he had not pulled the trigger.
“I’m not a murderer,” he said. “I have a heart.”
Granville responded: “I take your word that the person standing here is not the person in 2010, but I have to deal with what happened in 2010.”
After the sentencing, Daniel Marco said that he hoped Patterson was sincere about his religious conversion and further hoped the conversion would last until he is released from prison.
“It’s between him, God, the devil and my son,” he said. “I’m tired.”