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On November 28th, 2023, Samuel Wise Jr. was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Chesley Patterson, the general manager of La Scala restaurant in Baltimore’s Little Italy neighborhood. Wise had pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and other charges related to the killing.
The Murder of Chesley Patterson
On March 12th, 2022, Chesley Patterson was closing up for the night at La Scala on High Street in Little Italy. Around 10:30 pm, Wise entered the nearly empty restaurant armed with a handgun. He demanded money from Patterson at gunpoint. When Patterson said he did not have any cash, Wise shot him multiple times.
Patterson, 36, was a well-liked manager who had worked at La Scala for over 15 years. He was married with two young children. His shocking murder in the closed restaurant deeply saddened the tight-knit Little Italy community where he had many friends.
The Investigation and Guilty Plea
Using surveillance video and other evidence, Baltimore City homicide detectives were able to identify Wise as the shooter. He was taken into custody on March 18th, just days after Patterson’s murder.
In November 2023, Wise accepted a plea deal to avoid a jury trial. He pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, use of a firearm during a violent crime, and first-degree escape for removing his GPS monitoring device after his arrest. Wise was sentenced by the judge to life in prison, making him eligible for parole after 50 years served.
Reaction to the Sentencing
Patterson’s family said in a statement they were grateful for the sentence but that no amount of jail time could bring back their loved one. Local business owners in Little Italy also expressed relief that the man responsible for Patterson’s killing would spend life in prison. His cowardly actions shocked and saddened the community.