Trial begins for Buena Vista man charged with his father’s murder, arson

35-year-old Jonathan Patterson is accused of murdering Phillip ‘Jay’ Patterson in February 2022

BUENA VISTA, Va. – The trial for a Buena Vista man accused of murdering his father in February began on Wednesday.

In February 2022, authorities arrested 35-year-old Jonathan Patterson on one felony count of murder and one felony count of arson in connection with the death of his father, retired Buena Vista Assistant Police Chief, Phillip “Jay” Patterson, as we reported.

Patterson went to court for a preliminary hearing back in July when Kristin Hostetter, Patterson’s girlfriend at the time, gave a shocking recount of what happened that day.

On Wednesday, Patterson appeared in court for the first day of the trial and the Commonwealth began calling witnesses – one of which was Hostetter.

Hostetter testified that Patterson went to the victim’s house that morning back in February.

She said that not much later that day, Jonathan called her and told her that if anyone asked he was with her all morning and that he would explain when he gets home.

“What did you do? And he said I slit his f-ing throat. And he put his hand up and then motion like slitting a throat like this and I could see blood all over his hands,” Hostetter said.

State police Investigator Allen Brown was also at the trial. Brown is considered an arson expert and testified that Patterson’s body smelled of gasoline.

Brown said the body was found with what appeared to be stab wounds to the chest as well as burns on the rest of his body.

The victim’s cousin, Kennon Burnett, was serving as a volunteer firefighter that day and was one of the first crews to arrive on the scene.

“When I came to the bottom of the bed I reached up and felt legs and that’s when I felt like the rest of his body laying there,” Burnett said.

The defense argued that no one saw the defendant at his father’s home on the day of the fire. They also argued none of the defendant’s belongings that were searched smelled of gasoline.

The trial will continue Thursday morning.


About the Authors:

Sydney joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2021.

Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.