Criminal, given chance, now charged in invasion

Reno Gazette-Journal/August 26, 2004
By Jaclyn O'Malley

Spared prison in 2001 convictions: Prosecutors say white supremacist beat man, injected meth into boy. A career criminal convinced a Washoe District Court judge in 2001 that he didn't deserve to go to prison for his latest felony convictions because he was tired of "games, gangs and chasing drugs."

Patrick Joseph Booth told the judge he would move to Texas and care for his family if he were spared prison for his sixth and seventh felony convictions since 1988. Judge Jerome Polaha sentenced Booth to a maximum six-year sentence for his latest convictions and placed him on probation for five years.

Polaha warned the self-proclaimed white supremacist gang member that if he victimized another person, he would be back in prison for "a long time."

Three years later, authorities in Madera County, Calif., have charged the 34-year-old with committing one of the most heinous crimes in the county's history. The July 18 home invasion of a Madera family of three grabbed the attention of America's Most Wanted, which filmed a television reenactment of the crime there earlier this month.

But before the show could air, Booth was arrested Aug. 19 by Reno police two hours after a phone caller told the Maderas County Crimestoppers he might be in Reno, said Erica Stuart, Madera County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman. Booth had been here with his 22-year-old wife and their two small children at a downtown Reno motel.

He also was booked on a warrant for violating his Nevada probation and a Texas warrant charging him with a 2003 forgery. His wife was questioned but not arrested.

Booth is charged in the California warrant with breaking into a family's home in a middle-class neighborhood of Madera and beating the 35-year-old father on the head with a baseball bat, nearly killing him. Stuart said Booth injected methamphetamine into the couple's 11-year-old son and told him it was truth serum. Madera County District Attorney Ernie LiCalsi said Booth also tried to sexually assault the boy. Booth then allegedly held the family hostage in their tiny bathroom for 24 hours, looted their home and stole most of their clothing and then drove away in their sport utility vehicle, he said.

In 2000, Booth was arrested when detectives from the Northern Nevada Repeat Offender program tied him to a series of storage shed burglaries. At the time he had been on parole for earlier convictions of drug trafficking and possessing stolen credit cards.

In his 2001 sentencing hearing related to the burglaries, the tattooed truck driver told Polaha he planned on supporting his wheelchair-confined elderly mother, new bride and baby daughter in a home he bought in the Lone Star State while free on bail, according to court records. He had pleaded guilty to burglary and possession of stolen property. Booth's previous five felony convictions included trafficking methamphetamine in Sparks and burglary in California, Oregon and Wisconsin, records show.

Booth's case will be back in Polaha's court for a hearing on his alleged probation violation. Judges are prohibited from commenting on active cases.

Prosecutor Michael Mahaffey declined to comment recently and said the court record speaks for itself.

"From 1988 until these crimes were committed he was on a crime spree," Mahaffey, the deputy district attorney, said in the sentencing hearing. "... but rest assured, this man will commit crimes again because that is what he does and who he is ... This is a man that should be sentenced to prison as long as possible because that's the only time this community or any community he resides in can rest assured they will be safe ... ."

Polaha said he felt Booth made a "noteworthy change" during the seven months he had been free on bail and sentenced him to probation instead of six years in prison.

"I think tigers can change their spots and you have an opportunity to show that is accurate," the judge said during the hearing. "If we are wrong and someone else is victim of you in the future, you will have a very long time to think about it ... and that little child that you brought to court will grow up without your guidance."

Possible case of mistaken identity

"Why did he do it? That's the big question," Stuart said. "We believe he got the wrong address and targeted the wrong home and was after someone who was not this family."

Stuart said he called the father by a different name and demanded he tell him where he kept drugs and weapons. Stuart said the victims are a hard-working, middle-class family that has nothing to do with drugs and violence. The family positively identified Booth as the man who terrorized them in their own home, Stuart said.

"Madera County is known for its pristine and stunning land and have always prided ourselves as one of the safest places to live," Stuart said. "When a crime like this occurs, it shocks the hell out of the whole community. Things like that just don't happen here."

Authorities said Booth's wife was wearing clothing that were stolen during the home invasion but said her husband bought them for her at a swap meet. Madera County officials said Booth was linked to the crime through a fingerprint on a plastic Wal-Mart bag found in the family's stolen vehicle. A receipt inside the bag led detectives to a Stockton Wal-Mart. Booth is seen on store surveillance video wearing a sports jersey stolen during the home invasion, Stuart said. Booth had locked himself out of the vehicle in a residential area, she said. Suspicious neighbors called the police.

Booth is currently in the Washoe County Jail and is being held without bail. LiCalsi said it's likely Booth would face criminal charges here in Nevada before he would be extradited to Madera County.

"At this point, we have to wait and see," he said. "I don't want to interfere and if Booth gets a substantial sentence in Nevada, we will be happy to wait for him."

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.