Joseph Patterson was sentenced to life in prison without parole on Thursday for his role in the October 2013 death of two-year-old Tyrese Ruffin, the son of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.
Megan Raposa of the Argus Leader reported the news, adding Patterson will also serve a concurrent 25-year sentence for aggravated battery charges. A South Dakota jury found Patterson guilty of second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter and aggravated battery in September.
Patterson maintained his innocence in addressing the courtroom Thursday, saying, per Raposa, "This is probably where people expect a guilty person to turn around and ask for forgiveness. ... I'm not guilty. All I did was try to help."
Defense attorney Tim Rensch added, per the Argus Leader report, "I believe that one day this case will be held up as an example of injustice."
Because of the immense media coverage surrounding Ruffin's death, Patterson also said Thursday he didn't feel he was given a fair trial, implying the press' portrayal of the case worsened the jury's perception of him.
Ashley Doohen, Ruffin's mother, began dating Patterson after the two had made contact on Facebook in June 2013, per Raposa. Although the couple broke up after Ruffin's death, they continued dating off and on until June 2014.