Man sentenced to 22-years in prison without parole in 2014 slaying

Taylor Satterfield looks into the crowd while appearing before Judge Don Poole in Division III Criminal Court on Sept. 12, 2016.

Before she knew what happened to her daughter's two children, before Taylor Satterfield was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, Amy Smartt was the first person to arrive at Erlanger hospital on the morning of May 13, 2014.

There, Smartt heard the only update she would receive for hours about her 20-year-old daughter: Keiara Patton was brain dead after a single gunshot to the head. She would remain that way until her death later that day.

photo Amy Smartt, mother of the late Kiera Patton, becomes emotional while testifying against Taylor Satterfield while in Judge Don Poole's Division III Criminal Court on Sept. 12, 2016.

The mother shared those memories Monday in Hamilton County Criminal Court during Taylor Satterfield's sentencing hearing. After a dramatic trial in July, a jury convicted the 22-year-old father of second-degree murder. After Monday's emotional hearing, he received a 22-year sentence in the Tennessee Department of Correction without the opportunity for parole. He faced a maximum of 25 years, since he wasn't a convicted felon before the shooting.

Though she could not be reached for comment afterward, Smartt read an open letter in court, thanking the prosecutors and detectives who reassured her throughout the criminal justice process. Then she mentioned the psychological effect acts of violence have had on the children she is raising.

"It doesn't take a scientist to know the damage you did to both of them," Smartt said. "I just thank God where your son, Taylor Jr. slept, only 17 months old. His bed was located right above where you all were. He was in the direction you shot in. Thank God that bullet did not go upstairs."

What about that morning at the hospital, prosecutor Cameron Williams asked Smartt while she was on the stand. "How did that make you feel?"

"Like I wanted to die, too," she replied.

Judge Don Poole listened to more than an hour of testimony before coming to his decision Monday.

Two of Satterfield's family members testified about the family's upbringing: A missing father. A crowded household. A sick mother but loving confidant. When her organs failed after a liver transplant, when she died in 2012, Satterfield lost his way, family members said.

Finally, Satterfield himself addressed the courtroom.

He apologized, asked to take full responsibility, and said he hoped one day that everyone could forgive him.

"I'm here at the mercy of God. I do have three kids," he said, "two of which have lost their mother already. Kids who grow up in a fatherless home is a major reason our nation is in the state it's in today."

That final remark provoked someone in the gallery to shout, "They would have had their mother, but you killed them!"

An officer shouted "Quiet in the court!" and one of Satterfield's relatives rushed out of the room.

Public defenders Coty Wamp and Ted Engel pushed for 15 years in prison, saying the lower range of the punishment was more appropriate given Satterfield's upbringing and lack of felony convictions.

"He's a young man who's impulsive," Engel said. "And those impulses led to a horrific outcome. However, he is already two years older. And he will be at least a decade and a half older. That youth, that impulsiveness, would surely fall away."

They declined to comment afterward.

Williams attacked their argument, saying Satterfield couldn't be trusted. He gave three different accounts to police, Williams said, then came into the courtroom and pleaded self-defense, then never showed remorse after the verdict, when he thrust one hand into the air and said, "I'll be all right, I'll be back."

He also dug into Satterfield's criminal record as a juvenile and in Bradley County.

"Just five days after he pleads guilty in Bradley County [to possession of a handgun while under the influence], he murders Keiara Patton with a handgun," Williams said.

"The facts and circumstances are horrible," he continued. "The court has seen second-degree murders, but this one is particularly horrible. What you have is an unarmed woman in her home, her kitchen, and this defendant comes to her, argues with her, fires a weapon at her, and strikes her in the head. And she falls, lies in their kitchen while the children are upstairs in the bedroom, their mother being murdered downstairs. And he makes no attempt to help her whatsoever. He leaves her."

Ultimately, Poole said, the gun charges concerned him the most.

"How many people would even remotely get close to a gun when five days before you're found guilty of having a gun?" he asked, before turning to Satterfield. "You're a young man, I do wish you well."

Contact staff writer Zack Peterson at zpeter or 423-757-6347. Follow him on Twitter @zackpeterson918.