Waco: Man who stalked, murdered local woman pleads guilty

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CHINA SPRING, Texas (KWTX) An Arlington man pleaded guilty Monday to capital murder in connection with the July 2015 shotgun slaying of a woman at her China Spring home.

James Ray Brossett (Jail photo)

Judge Matt Johnson, in 54th District Court, sentenced James Ray Brossett, 50, to serve life without the possibility of parole on the capital murder charge, life on the second charge of attempted capital murder and the judge waived any possible fine in the cases.

In a statement issued Tuesday the Patschke family spoke out after Brossett was sentenced Monday.

The family said: “We would like to take this opportunity to thank the public servants of McLennan County for bringing about justice for the murder of Laura Patschke and the attempted murder of her son.

“The District Attorney, Abel Reyna, and his staff met with our family on several occasions.

“We are in full support that this resolution is both just and merciful for our family.

“Although others may feel that the death penalty would have been the only true justice for James Brossett, our family feels that life without the possibility of parole spares Laura's children and family decades of future legal proceedings,” the statement said.

The courtroom was crowded as Brosett issued his plea and two of his victim’s family members, plus a neighbor, stood to talk about Laura Lynn Easter Patschke, 47, who was killed in her bedroom on July 6, 2015.

She was shot several times at close range with a shotgun.

Her son was wounded by shotgun blasts as he tried to escape from the rural residence.

Sheriff’s deputies at the time said the boy was shot in the arm after he heard "the sound of someone forcing entry into the house," grabbed a gun and went to his mother's bedroom "where he was confronted by a subject shining a flashlight in his eyes," an arrest warrant affidavit said.

The teenager, who told investigators he recognized Brossett's voice, ran out of the house after he was shot and heard several more shots from inside the home while he was running, the affidavit said.

He said he recognized the voice because Brossett "had recently been involved in a dating relationship with his mother."

Patschke was shot several times at close range with a 12-gauge shotgun loaded with large 000 buckshot rounds, the affidavit said.

Investigators found 12-gauge shotgun shell casings around her body, the affidavit said, but later said just five were recovered.

Two other children, a 13-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy, were inside the home when the shooting happened but neither of them was injured.

Patschke was a global deployment, engagement and improvement manager at Shell Oil Company where she had worked almost continuously since 1992, according to her profile on LinkedIn.

She was a graduate of Lorena High School and Texas A&M University, which she attended on a track scholarship, earning degrees in safety and industrial engineering.

Authorities say Brossett parked his pickup truck a mile or more from the home and made his way through a wooded area along a trail that led to the rear of the house.

After the shooting, authorities say, he stole a car that Patschke had rented and fled, driving back to where the pickup was parked.

One of the affidavits issued in the case shows Patschke had made a complaint about an assault in which she named Brossett as the attacker, but that case remained under investigation and no warrant had been issued, McNamara said.