Have you ever had rough sex? It’s fabulous. Hair gets pulled, backs scratched, necks bitten … you get the picture. For some couples, adding a little “spice” to the bedroom is what makes their relationship all the more exciting. Though sometimes, when we’re in the midst of passion, we can get carried away.
On October 28, 2015, police received a call from Florida criminal defense attorney Ken Padowitz. He instructed officers to visit the 6700 block of Royal Palm Blvd. They would find a body inside. When pressed, Padowitz told police that he was not able to identify his client at the time. The police were on their own.
Upon arrival, investigators discovered the body of Francisca Marquinez, 60, lying face down on a bed. A bag filled with tissues and paper towels covered in blood and semen was found in the kitchen. Investigators determined that Marquinez had been dead for eight to 24 hours.
Her body was badly colored due to decomposition, making the cause of death difficult for medical examiners to determine. They found that her neck was not broken and the cartilage around her neck was still intact. If there had been foul play, it wasn’t very apparent.
Meanwhile, Florida man and boyfriend of Marquinez, Richard Patterson, 65, had been admitted to a mental hospital under the Florida Baker Act, which allows the involuntary institutionalization and examination of an individual. Something was very wrong with Patterson.
On the afternoon of October 28th, Patterson texted his daughter:
“Your dad did something really bad last night and I’m so, so sorry.”
After a brief phone conversation with his daughter, Patterson told her that he “couldn’t go on,” and said his goodbyes. He also texted, Holly Graff, a family friend that read:
“My meds are making me crazy and I can’t function.”
Graff then put Patterson in touch with Padowitz, who then recommended that he be admitted to a mental institution for 72 hours. Instead of calling the police, Patterson panicked and lawyered up.
All the while, Marquinez’s body lie decomposing in her condo unit. After speaking with a neighbor who stated that Patterson answered the door when she knocked and told her that Marquinez had been sleeping. It didn’t take long for investigators to make the connection.
Omar Andrade, Marquinez’s son, said that he met Patterson once or twice shortly after the couple began their relationship. The news of her suspected murder by Patterson apparently came as a total shock to Andrade, stating in an interview with The Sun Sentinel, “I didn’t think of anything of him in particular.”
On November 2, 2016, Patterson was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. While being questioned by detectives, Patterson apparently admitted that he had choked Marquinez, but didn’t reveal how.
During the trial, Patterson’s attorneys made a bold move and claimed that Marquinez choked to death while performing oral sex. In order to prove it, Padowitz filed a motion to allow Patterson to show his penis to the jury.
“It is material and relevant,” Padowitz wrote in the motion. “The view by the jury is essential for them to fully understand Dr. Wright’s testimony and the defense in this case.” The defense would argue that Marquinez’s death would be consistent with being “accidentally sexually asphyxiated during oral sex.”
“It’s a desperate man trying a desperate tactic,” Andrade said in another interview with the Sun Sentinel. “He’s just trying to get off the hook.”
According to associate Broward County medical examiner Iouri Boiko, however, that would not be very likely. Boiko, who performed Marquinez’s autopsy, testified that if she were to have choked to death while performing fellatio, that she would have had to have had her airway blocked for upwards of three minutes.
Because of the ridiculous nature of the argument, especially after Boiko’s testimony, Patterson’s attorneys reversed course on their strategy. The judge never ruled on Padowitz’s unconventional motion for Patterson to reveal his penis to the jury.
Padowitz was now going to argue that there was no way of knowing precisely how Marquinez died. Because of the extensive decomposition, medical examiners were ultimately unable to determine a cause of death.
In closing arguments, prosecutor Peter Sapak reminded jurors of the evidence that they can point to. Patterson’s text messages to his daughter, they argued, appeared to indicate a guilty conscience.
When speaking to his ex-girlfriend, Graff, he admitted to choking Marquinez. Though during testimony she said that she couldn’t remember exactly how Patterson phrased it.
Sapak ended his argument reminding the jury that he did not call the police nor did he call paramedics. Instead, he called his ex-girlfriend and then a lawyer. This, Sapak argued, was not the behavior of an innocent man.
In a complete reversal from his opening arguments where he blamed Marquinez’s death on Patterson’s genitals, Padowitz instead focused on the fact that her cause of death was undetermined.
“They still don’t know how she died,” Padowitz said. “It is rare in a homicide case that the medical examiner can’t say the manner of death is a homicide.”
Arguing against his opening statements, Padowitz told the jury, “That’s not the way she died. But that’s the way Richard Patterson thought she died.” He argued that Patterson didn’t call police because he was embarrassed and humiliated for believing that he killed Marquinez with his penis.
After five hours of deliberation, the jury returned with their verdict. It read: not guilty. While Padowitz and Patterson celebrated with a hug, a family member called out, “This is not justice.” Andrade, no stranger to the press, declined to comment as he left the courtroom.