Marysville cold case suspect’s sister: ‘He did not shoot those girls’
Special to The Union
One of two murder suspects in a reopened 1973 cold case told his sister he had sex with one of the two victims, but denied killing them.
Larry Don Patterson, 65, appeared in Yuba County Superior Court on Tuesday, where Judge Benjamin Wirschafter read the six counts of murder charged against him. Three types of murder are charged, including murder in the perpetration of rape for each victim — Doris Karin Derryberry, 13, and Valerie Janice Lane, 12.
The girls were found dead of gunshot wounds in a rural area outside of Wheatland in November 1973.
DNA evidence found on Derryberry in the initial investigation tied the suspects to the crime after it was tested using modern forensic technology. Patterson was transported to Yuba County Jail from Oklahoma, where he had been staying with a sister until he was arrested last week. Hours after he was arrested, William Lloyd Harbour, also 65, was arrested in Olivehurst. Both suspects have pleaded not guilty.
Officials have not said whether either man gave any statements after their arrests.
The two had lived a few houses away from each other in Olivehurst at the time of the killings. At some point over the years, they became brothers-in-law, when they were married to sisters, according to officials with the sheriff’s department. Evelyn Coker, who identified herself as Patterson’s older sister, said outside of the courtroom that she spoke with Patterson about the accusations since his arrest.
“Larry said he is willing to take a lie detector test. He did not shoot those girls. He may have had sex with her,” Coker said. “Do I believe him? Absolutely.”
Before he was arrested, he “hadn’t said a word” about the night of the shootings. Now, he says “Lloyd shot ‘em,” Coker said.
“I know Lloyd did it, I absolutely know it,” she said.
Patterson was convicted of raping two women in Chico three years after the girls’ deaths. When asked about that, Coker said he had been drafted to serve in the Vietnam War and came back as a different person.
“He was the nicest person until he came home. He came back broken,” she said.
Patterson was shot twice overseas and didn’t get help when he returned home, she said.
“He was a sweetheart,” Coker said of her younger brother. “You talk to anyone in my family, they’ll tell you Larry changed.”
Patterson and Harbour are being held in Yuba County Jail without possibility of bail. They’re scheduled to return to court Oct. 19.
Monica Vaughan is a reporter for the Marysville Appeal-Democrat; she can be reached at 749-4783 and on Twitter @MonicaLVaughan.
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