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  • Medford man found guilty of assault, gets engaged

  • A Medford man accused of violently attacking his on-again, off-again girlfriend and locking her in his garage was found guilty of assault and kidnapping by a Jackson County jury Friday, the day he also got engaged to another woman.
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  • A Medford man accused of violently attacking his on-again, off-again girlfriend and locking her in his garage was found guilty of assault and kidnapping by a Jackson County jury Friday, the day he also got engaged to another woman.
    The jury acquitted James Calvin Patterson Jr., 38, of rape and sodomy in the Jan. 10 attack on his 30-year-old former girlfriend. His sentencing is set for Tuesday.
    Patterson's friends, family and fiancée waited silently for the jury's decision, wiping away tears as the verdicts were read. Patterson glanced frequently at Laura de Larm, who said they became engaged Friday.
    De Larm said outside the courtroom that she wants Patterson home safe as soon as possible.
    "I love him and I will be marrying him," she said. "It's like a Lifetime movie."
    The victim had a no-contact order against Patterson because of a previous assault conviction, but the two had recently gotten back together when the incident occurred.
    During the trial, the victim said Patterson became angry at her in his Sunset Avenue home. She claimed Patterson struck her with a hair dryer, threw matches at her, raped and sodomized her and strangled her during the rape until she passed out.
    The woman said Patterson then put her in the garage and padlocked the door from the outside. When she came to, she said she escaped by cutting through boards covering the broken window and called 911 from a neighbor's home.
    Police responded and arrested Patterson at his home. He was booked into the Jackson County Jail on $1 million bail.
    Patterson claimed they had consensual sex the night before the incident, and pleaded not guilty to all charges.
    Patterson's attorney, Zachary Light, said in his closing remarks that both Patterson and the victim lived in violent environments and had lengthy criminal histories that involved drug use.
    "My client is no angel. No one in this case is," Light said, adding that the jury's job was to decide which of the two people with corrupt pasts was telling the truth.
    Prosecutor David Hoppe rebutted Light's claims that there were too many holes in the case to convict Patterson.
    "All the elements are there to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt," Hoppe said.
    Court records show Patterson's criminal history stretches back to 1994. Convictions include third-degree assault, second-degree burglary, possession of a controlled substance, and felon in possession of a firearm.
    The seven men and five women on the jury deliberated for about 10 hours Thursday afternoon and Friday morning before reaching their verdict. They found Patterson guilty of second-degree kidnapping, a Measure 11 crime, two counts of strangulation, fourth-degree assault and attempting to commit first-degree assault.
    They found him not guilty of two counts of first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy and second-degree assault.
    Patterson faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 70 months for the kidnapping charge alone.
    Jury members appeared grim when the results were read, and Jackson County Circuit Judge Kelly Ravassipour commented on the emotional toll the four-day trial had taken on the jury.
    Patterson's mother, Pastora Connie Johnson, said she prays both her son and the victim will improve their lives.
    "Through every situation in life, I will stand beside my son without hanging my head," Johnson said. "I know all the gifts and capabilities Jim has, and will be there to encourage him to reach out to better his life."
    Reach Mail Tribune reporting intern Kelsey Thomas at 541-776-4368 or kthomas@mailtribune.com. Follow her on Twitter @kelseyethomas.
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