Berget executed for carjacking murder of Moore school teacher

Thursday, June 8th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

McALESTER, Okla. (AP) -- The family of a slain Moore Central Mid-High school teacher found little comfort in the execution of one of his killers early Thursday.

Roger James Berget, 39, was pronounced dead at 12:12 a.m. after receiving a lethal dose of drugs at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary.

He pleaded guilty to murdering Rick Patterson along with co-defendant Mikell Smith after a car jacking from an Oklahoma City supermarket parking lot on Oct. 19, 1985.

"It was easy -- way too easy," said Diane Newlin, Patterson's sister, after the execution was over.

"They talk about a humane way to die. There was nothing humane with the way they killed my brother," said Rick Patterson's brother, Lloyd. "He had a smile on his face when he shut his eyes and he had a smile when they pronounced him dead."

Berget and Smith forced Patterson into the trunk of his car and drove to a deserted area near Interstate 40 where they ordered him out of the car and shot him in the head execution style with a 12-gauge shotgun.

Berget pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, first-degree burglary and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. He also confessed to killing James Meadows in Hughes County near Holdenville.

It was the eighth execution this year and the 27th since the death penalty was reinstated in 1990.

Earlier in the week, Patterson's colleagues and family remembered the slain teacher as man who was popular with his students, other teachers and administration.

"It (his death) had so much impact and caused so much pain to so many people, especially his kids," said Lois Evans, the assistant principal at the mid-high when the murder occurred.

Newlin, along with Patterson's father, brother, sister-in-law, and two nephews traveled from Ponca City to the Oklahoma State Penitentiary for the execution.

Earlier in the afternoon, they said they would be getting some closure with Berget's execution, but not all because Berget's co-defendant, Mikell Smith's death sentence was appealed in 1992 and reduced to life in prison without parole.

"This is only half," said Newlin. "There's still the other half ... I hope he gets his in prison."

Lloyd Patterson earlier said his family needed to be at the execution. "And I'd like to thank the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals for not allowing us to get justice on Smith. This is half of what we've been through."

Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson said earlier he agreed with the jury's recommendation of a death sentence.

"There were four aggravated circumstances, and the death penalty was assessed. I agree with the jury that it's appropriate in this case."

Executions have been scheduled for William Clifford Bryson on June 15, and Gregg Francis Braun on July 20.