HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – After a short morning of testimony, and about 20 minutes of deliberations, a jury found Daniel Proctor guilty of theft.
Proctor was sentenced to two terms of life in prison, due to prior convictions he had on his record. He did not take the stand to testify.
Jury selection took place all of Monday. Proctor is acting as his own lawyer, after saying he was not happy with the counsel provided to him. Randy Dill is prosecuting the case for the Madison County District Attorney’s Office. Madison County Circuit Judge Donna Pate presided over the case.
Proctor is also suspected in the disappearance of his ex-wife in Florida, but is not charged in that case.
The charges in Madison County stem from Proctor’s alleged flight after investigators began questioning him about Patterson’s disappearance. He is charged with stealing a truck and a pistol from a friend in Madison County.
Proctor pleaded not guilty to the two charges he faces — theft of a firearm and theft of a motor vehicle, a 1992 Ford Explorer. He also made a motion to dismiss the case, which Judge Pate denied.
Huntsville attorney Larry Marsili served as Proctor’s standby attorney, but could only assist by answering questions if Proctor asked.
During jury selection on Monday, of nearly 30 potential jurors, only three said they had read or watched media coverage about Proctor. All jurors in the pool said prior knowledge of Proctor would not affect their ability to make an unbiased judgment in the Madison County theft trial.
But one person sitting in on the courtroom on Monday has an interest she says goes far beyond the alleged theft of a gun or a vehicle. Amy Patterson’s mother, Ladonna Salehi, is still searching for answers about her daughter’s disappearance more than a year ago.
“I came here to let him see me,” explained Salehi, “because I want him to know she’s not forgotten and that I’m not forgetting and that he is going to have to answer one way or another what he’s done with her.”
Amy Patterson was working as a school teacher when she disappeared from Cape Coral, Florida in July 2011.
“You know, we have our days and nights that are pretty rough, said Salehi, “and I’m hoping that when he sees me that maybe he’ll think about what he’s done, maybe he’ll have a conscience, I don’t know, all I want to know is where she is, that’s it.”
A grieving mother is not the only one with a vested interest in Proctor’s Madison County court proceedings. An investigator with the Lee County, Florida Sheriff’s department Monday peered at Proctor through a small window in Judge Donna Pate’s courtroom, lead over and whispered, “right there sits the man who has been the bane of my existence for over a year.” He said the Lee County is also keeping a watchful eye on Proctor.
“I’m thrilled, said Salehi. “I’m thrilled they’re coming up here and are having a presence here because it’s through them we will find the solution to this case, so he’s going to know that his chances are getting slimmer and slimmer unless he comes forward.”