Two Michigan lesbian teens who beat to death the grandmother of one of them because of her opposition to their relationship will likely spend the rest of their lives in prison. Two Wayne County circuit court juries on Thursday found Larqeta Collier, 16, and Sharon Patterson, 17, guilty of first-degree murder in the September 17 death of Bertha Atkins.
Collier was also convicted of arson for setting fire to her 64-year-old grandmother's house, the Wayne County prosecutor's office said. The teens were tried as adults and face mandatory life in prison with no chance of parole when they are scheduled to be sentenced April 13.
Patterson's attorney, David E, Lankford, said he planned to appeal the verdict, the Detroit Free Press reported in a Friday story. Wendy Barnwell, Collier's attorney, did not return calls seeking comment Thursday. Atkins lived with Collier and her mother, Sandra Collier.
Sandra Collier had ordered her mother to keep Patterson out of the house, but the teens' desire to be together prompted them to devise a plan to kill Atkins, homicide investigator Barbara Simon testified.
Larqeta Collier testified that after beating Atkins to death with a claw hammer and setting the house on fire, she and Patterson went to see a movie to get their minds off what they had done. They later surrendered to police. Collier also recounted hearing her grandmother's screams during the attack. She said she turned up the radio so that neighbors would not hear the noise. Simon testified that Collier told her that night, "[Patterson] is the love of my life."