A phase of trial that will determine if Patrick Wharen Sr. will spend his life
in prison or face a death sentence in a 2008 double-homicide began this
A jury found Wharen Sr., 41, guilty of 2 counts of 1st-degree premeditated
murder on Thursday. The same jury will determine Wharen Sr.’s fate in the 2nd
phase of trial, which is expected to last 2 days.
Prosecutors are asking jurors to choose the death penalty.
Wharen Sr. killed his estranged wife, Kelly Wharen, 34, and a 19-year-old man,
Jonathon Vuick. Wharen Sr. apparently suspected his wife and Vuick were having
an affair, but his wife claimed Vuick was the fiancé of a daughter she’d given
up for adoption years ago.
The night of April 4, 2008, Wharen Sr. went to the Frontenac home his wife
shared with Vuick. An argument involving his daughter and his wife followed.
Defense attorneys said the confrontation pushed Wharen Sr. over the edge.
Prosecutors maintained he went to the home to kill his wife and Vuick.
Wharen Sr. shot his wife once before his son, Patrick Wharen Jr., 15 at the
time, tried to stop him. They struggled and the 45-caliber gun fired, wounding
both father and son.
Wharen Sr. continued to the home, where he fired 7 shots through the front
door, hitting Vuick 6 times. He pursued his wife, who fled into the home, and
shot her again several times, killing her.
(source: Associated Press)