Former Bucks prosecutor faces charges

January 8, 2008 4:50:24 PM PST
An attorney who worked for the Bucks County district attorney and state attorney general's office is going to be prosecuted himself.Members of Heather Demou's family gathered at the spot where she died almost eight months ago. Moments earlier, they were at district court heckling the man they believe killed her. They thought they might never see this day because of the man's law enforcement connections. He is Richard Patton, a former assistant district attorney and assistant Pennsylvania attorney general.

Last April, 34-year-old Heather Demou lay bleeding to death in the parking lot of outside LaStella Restaurant in Newtown Township. The grand jury investigating the case found Demou was hanging on to Patton's truck and fell to her death as he was driving. Attorney General Tom Corbett says the incident happened after an argument and that Patton was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash. Patton will be arraigned on homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter and other charges. At the time of the crash, Patton, 52, faced DUI and other related charges.

According to the criminal complaint, Patton and Demou had a stormy and sometimes violent relationship. Just a month before Demou died she called police from Patton's home in New Hope to break up a fight. Two weeks later she told friends that Patton had beaten her.

Demou was a real estate agent from Doylestown, and leaves behind two teenaged children. Demou's two young nephews held pictures of her outside court on Tuesday.

Patton now has a private legal practice. His lawyer, David Mischak, says the eight month investigation has destroyed the practice and left him struggling financially.

Mischak said he was reviewing the charges and planned to conduct his own investigation. "Mr. Patton is certainly devastated," Mischak said. "This was someone he cared very much about, and is certainly saddened for the tragedy and for all those that are affected."

The judge let him go on $1-million unsecured bail, pending a hearing next week.