Son takes stand in trial of Hanford father accused of killing wife

HANFORD, Calif. (KFSN) -- Tuesday, more witnesses's took the stand in the case of the people versus Todd Pate. The 53-year-old is accused of killing his wife Melanie at their Hanford home on labor day in 2013. Melanie had served him with divorce papers just days before.

Todd and Melanie Pate's 15-year-old son Karter walked up the steps of the Kings County courthouse. During testimony, Karter spoke of how he's is doing now nearly three years after he lost both of his parents. His mother-murdered and his father in custody, accused of killing her with kitchen knives, motivated by their impending divorce.

Karter now lives with his cousins. He's a high school sophomore and varsity baseball player. When asked about how often his mom Melanie would attend his baseball games, on the witness stand, Karter became emotional.

He said a couple of days before his mother's death, his parents had an argument about the divorce at home. The day she died, Karter told prosecutors he got a call from his dad saying, "I love you, don't listen to anyone." He then said I love you again before hanging up.

Baseball is a common theme in the Pate trial. Another woman who testified Tuesday was a pate family friend through youth baseball. Her son played with Karter, and the night before Melanie's death, Karter had spent the night at their house. The next day he'd find out his mother had been killed and his father arrested.

A Hanford police detective was also called as a witness. He was asked about various pieces of evidence found at the Pate house. The evidence included the divorce papers on the floor of Todd's office, reddish brown stains near the pool and in the kitchen, and a few different kitchen knives that also had the same color stain or substance on them.

Melanie's family members did not wish to speak on Tuesday, but her cousin said that Melanie was a wonderful, loyal, and loving mother.

The defense is asking the jury to consider this case as one of voluntary manslaughter, not first degree murder. The trial is expected to be finished August 19th and Todd Pate faces a maximum of 26 years to life in prison.
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