A man involved in the March 2016 death of Kenneth Patterson has been sentenced to three years of probation for aiding and harboring a felon.
Judge Steven R. Cray withheld sentencing for Nicholas D. Rands, 37, in Chippewa County court Wednesday, and said Rands must serve three years of probation for harboring his nephew, Jesse R. Lloyd, 22. Lloyd has been charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the March 2016 death of Kenneth Patterson in the town of Eagle Point.
Rands must also complete three years of probation for an unrelated methamphetamine possession offense, but will serve that time concurrently. If the terms of his probation are not followed, he will serve a 120-day jail sentence, Cray said.
“I’m more interested in you having a stable job right now than I am having you serve a jail sentence. That, again, is conditional on your sobriety,” Cray told Rands at a sentencing hearing Wednesday.
Rands pled no contest to both charges in December 2017, court records show. As part of a plea deal, Rands must also aid the prosecution involved in the Kenneth Patterson case and testify if necessary, Cray said Wednesday.
As conditions of his probation, Rands must not consume alcohol, illegal drugs, must possess no drug paraphernalia, must not be in the presence of anyone using illegal drugs, pay $1,036 in court costs and must have no contact with Lloyd.
Rands joins a cohort of men involved in the case who have agreed to testify against Lloyd at an upcoming trial.
Matthew Labrec, who said he heard Lloyd shoot Patterson, was originally charged in Patterson’s death, but instead pleaded to lesser charges and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Lloyd’s trial has been set for Oct. 2-10 in Chippewa County court. Judge James M. Isaacson is slated to hear the case.
According to a criminal complaint involving Patterson’s death:
The body of Patterson, an Eau Claire resident, was found on a town of Eagle Point lawn in March 2016. Lloyd and Labrec intended to rob Patterson because they needed money and also as a way to exact revenge for perceived slights, the complaint said.
“The bullet had struck a vein and damaged the artery, which caused Kenneth Patterson to die,” the complaint said.
Labrec told law enforcement that Lloyd took a handgun from Rands’ residence.