Marion Patterson III Enters Guilty Plea in 2010 Killing of ASU Student Zachary Marco

Marion Patterson III, one of two men charged with murdering Arizona State University student Zachary Marco in October 2010, has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, according to a Maricopa County court spokesperson.

Marco was 21 years old when he was gunned down after refusing to give up his belongings in a robbery attempt while walking home from the school's Tempe campus.

Patterson, who was 17 at the time of his arrest, and Harper, who was 20, were both charged with murdering Marco in November 2010.

Patterson's deal knocks the charge down to second-degree murder, but there's no indication that Harper -- the alleged shooter -- was offered a deal by prosecutors.

A few weeks before the two were arrested, Marco's father made a plea to a national audience on CBS's The Early Show, asking that the shooter's accomplice -- eventually determined to be Patterson -- turn himself in.

In return, Dan Marco said he'd help provide legal defense to the accomplice, ensuring he'd get a deal that "allows him to see the light of day again."

Weeks later, the two were arrested, but not because Patterson turned himself or Harper in.

Both suspects' fingerprints were found on Zachary Marco's computer bag, which was located later near the crime scene, and text messages between Patterson and Harper discussing the shooting were found by police as a result of a search warrant.

The day they were arrested, Dan Marco said the deal was off the table since Patterson never came forward.

Patterson apparently still got lucky with his plea deal, but he'll be facing at least a decade in prison at his April 10 sentencing.

Harper, on the other hand, is still scheduled to go to trial on the first-degree murder charge.

For what it's worth, Harper was already on probation through Maricopa County for theft and resisting arrest, and had a history of skipping out on court dates.

Harper's arrest record also included charges of reckless assault and criminal damage that were dismissed, a guilty plea for driving with a suspended license, and a guilty plea to a misdemeanor marijuana charge before being arrested in Marco's killing.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley