Relatives say wife abused murder victim

>From the Peoria [IL] Journal Star--

Relatives: Wife abused murder victim

First homicide in decade for Havana
Monday, January 30, 2006

by Sarah Okeson
of the journal star

HAVANA - Troy Patton wasn't afraid of much. He drove a motorcycle,
skydived and even jumped into the Illinois River from the Havana

Relatives say that when his second marriage turned physically abusive,
he stayed in the relationship because he didn't want to put his two
daughters through a second divorce.

Patton, 34, was killed Saturday with a shotgun at his home at 220 S.
High St. Police have arrested his wife of almost two years, Janene
Patton, 35. Their second anniversary would have been Tuesday. She was
being held Sunday on $750,000 bond at the Mason County Jail on a
charge of first-degree murder.

"He just loved being here, loved knowing everybody," said Patton's
older brother, Todd. "You couldn't pull him out of this town if you
tried to."

Patton's death was the first homicide in about a decade in this city
of about 3,500 about 40 miles southwest of Peoria.

"It's the most horrific thing that's ever happened," said neighbor
Denee Ivey. "I can remember when Troy brought her to meet us at his
daughter's birthday party. She sure had us fooled."

Patton worked for Pepsi as a truck driver after graduating from Havana
High School in 1989 and had recently been promoted to a job in sales.
Janene Patton worked as a certified nurse's aide at a nursing home in
Lewistown. The couple didn't have any children together, although both
had children from previous marriages.

Ivey said she had heard Janene Patton yelling and saw Troy Patton with
a black eye or a bloody nose once when she baby-sat his children.

"I asked what had happened," Ivey said. "Janene goes, 'Well, I punched
him.' Troy never laid a hand on her at all. He would walk away before
he would lay a hand on a female."

Troy Patton's daughters said they had seen their stepmother hit their

"She would hit him when we were around," said Britany Patton, 15, a
high school freshman. "I don't know what she did when we weren't

Patton's ex-wife, Lisa Hebb, said Troy Patton wanted to make the
relationship work.

"He was hoping she would change," Hebb said. "He didn't want to put
the girls through another divorce."

Martha Herm, the director of the Center for Prevention of Abuse, said
women are the victims in most domestic violence cases.

"Ninety-five percent of the time the abuser is male, and the victim is
female," Herm said. "It's usually very rare that the woman herself is
the primary aggressor, but it happens."

Neighbors said they had never seen police called to the house before
Troy Patton's death, and Mason County State's Attorney Kristen Miller
said she didn't know of any prior criminal history in Mason County for
Janene Patton.

On Friday night, the couple went to Lewistown and returned home
arguing. Troy Patton's daughters said he owned four guns, including
the shotgun. He liked to hunt deer and ducks and typically kept his
guns unloaded in a locked gun cabinet.

Patton was shot about 3:30 a.m. at his home. He died about two hours
later at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria.

"He didn't deserve to go this way," said his sister, Lori Wickman.

indigoace at goodsol period com