NASHUA | A federal judge has ruled there is evidence to conclude a Charles City burglar was involved in the slaying of a retired Nashua grocer.
Randy Lee Patrie, 41, is awaiting sentencing on federal gun charges, and prosecutors argue he should face life in prison as an armed career criminal because of his role in the death of 70-year-old Carl “Kenneth” Gallmeyer during a burglary to Gallmeyer’s rural Nashua home in 2012.
In a 62-page order that was issued on Thursday, Judge Linda Reade agreed.
“The court finds, by a preponderance of the evidence, that defendant used a firearm, that is a .410 gauge sawed-off shotgun, in connection with another offense, that is, burglary, and the death of Mr. Gallmeyer resulted from the Defendant’s commission of burglary,” Reade wrote in her ruling.
Patrie hasn’t been charged with murder in Gallmeyer’s death, but investigators found guns stolen during the fatal burglary after searching Patrie’s home in July 2013, and Gallmeyer’s stolen TV was mounted on the wall of Patrie’s bedroom. They also discovered a sawed-off .410 gauge shotgun.
Sentencing for Patrie began Feb. 6, but it was put on hold after a day of testimony and arguments that Reade should consider a number of issues, including Patrie’s alleged link to the homicide.
On Thursday, Reade said she would consider Gallmeyer’s death in deciding Patrie’s punishment, meaning he is eligible for a life sentence. Sentencing for Patrie is slated to continue next week in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids.
Federal sentencing guidelines take into consideration a number of factors, including elements of the crime and a defendant’s prior criminal history, to calculate a range of years.
Reade wrote the evidence surrounding the slaying points to first-degree murder, with Patrie killing Gallmeyer so he could ransack the house in search of a safe that wasn’t there.
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In her ruling, Reade said calculated Patrie’s numbers to reach the top of the sentencing guidelines. She then outlined alternative calculations that, in the event a future appeals court disagrees with her first conclusion, would again place Patrie at the top.
“Defendant is an unrepentant recidivist who has committed multiple crimes of violence and who armed himself in violation of federal and state laws prohibiting felons from possessing firearms and ammunition. Prior lenient treatment by state courts has not brought about any changes in his behavior and, in fact, Defendant’s criminal behavior is escalating,” Reade wrote in her order.
She agreed with the government that Patrie’s sentence should be enhanced for obstruction of justice because he misled investigators when asked where he obtained Gallmeyer’s guns, and she said Patrie didn’t warrant credit for accepting responsibility.
According to testimony by agents with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation during the February hearing, Patrie’s wife told investigators she heard Patrie and his uncle, Dennis Hamm, talking about Gallmeyer months before the slaying.
Hamm testified he told Patrie where Gallmeyer lived and that he was rumored to keep thousands of dollars at the house. Patrie later told Hamm he approached the house and knocked in the door after claiming he ran out of gas or had a flat tire, apparently in an effort to scout out the location.
Gallmeyer’s body was found Oct. 4, 2012, and investigators believe he was killed in his bed days earlier, sometime around Sept. 25 or 26, 2012.
Patrie’s wife testified Patrie didn’t come to bed the night of Sept. 25, and she noticed his car was gone. She said he returned the morning of Sept. 26 and was seen moving boxes from his vehicle.
When word of Gallmeyer’s death was announced on the news, Patrie turned white, swallowed hard and left the room, the wife said.