A New Britain Borough man will serve up to 50 years behind bars for killing his girlfriend last September.
Jason K. Lutey, 43, pleaded guilty Tuesday to third-degree murder, admitting he beat 46-year-old Colleen Patterson to death Sept. 7, wrapped her bloodied body in a blanket and placed it in the back of his Toyota Highlander SUV before he was arrested, the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office said.
Investigators found the attack occurred inside a residence in the 100 block of Keeley Avenue, New Britain, where Lutey repeatedly struck Patterson until she died, according to a summary of the investigation read in court by Bucks County First Assistant District Attorney Gregg Shore.
A medical examiner who performed an autopsy in the case determined Patterson’s killer must have kicked and stomped her body, causing extensive internal and external injuries similar to those sustained by a person run over by a motor vehicle. Patterson was likely awake, conscious and aware during the beating, the examiner determined.
Lutey, a military veteran diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, indicated through his attorneys that he was planning to leave the scene with Patterson’s body and kill himself in the woods. Conversations with family, however, convinced him to remain at the scene and accept responsibility for his crimes.
“This is clearly a sad and distressing story of mental health,” said Shore. “But society needs to be protected from this defendant the way Ms. Patterson never was.”
Relatives remembered Patterson in their victim impact statements as a caring mother and grandmother who loved to cook for her family and spend afternoons at the beach.
In addition to third-degree murder, Lutey admitted to additional charges, including possessing an instrument of crime and abuse of a corpse. Through his negotiated guilty plea, Lutey agreed to serve 25 to 50 years in state prison. Judge Gary B. Gilman accepted the negotiation and sentenced Lutey to the agreed-upon prison term.
“If you believe life is a gift, as I do, Colleen had a gift and you made a choice for her that was not yours to make,” Gilman said. “You stole her gift.”
The case was investigated by Bucks County Detectives with the Central Bucks Regional Police Department.