Family of murdered 3-year-old breaks down during trial

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- An emotional day in court as the family members of 3-year-old Josiah Patterson saw pictures of the bruised toddler. The child died from blunt force trauma and his father, Terry Patterson, is now on trial for first-degree murder.

The family was unable to look at some of the pictures, and had to walk out in tears as they were forced to see just how much pain the toddler may have been in during his last moments of life.

A homicide detective told the courtroom about his first interview with the father.

"That was actually my first day in homicide," said Michael Spearman.

"He was pacing he was worried and concerned that's when I asked him to sit down," added Spearman. "Asked if he knew why he was here. He said, 'Yes, because my son is dead and y’all need some answers.'"

Patterson was accused of beating, and punching little JoJo to death.

Spearman claimed Patterson denied ever putting his hands on JoJo, since he’d just got joint custody of the child and didn’t want any complaints filed on him.

Emergency room nurses and paramedics showed pictures of JoJo too gruesome for TV forcing the family at times to leave the courtroom in tears.

Spearman claimed Patterson finally broke down when confronted with the pictures.

"He hit the table a few times, he was a little angry," said Spearman.

"I went overboard, I love my son. I need help with my anger so this doesn't happen again," Patterson reportedly confessed in a written statement to police.

He went on to say he beat his son with his fist and a belt for spitting his food out.

But this isn't the first time Patterson has been in trouble with the law. In fact, WREG has learned he has a documented history of trouble with children.

In 2011, he pleaded guilty to statutory rape. He was indicted for the same crime a few years prior, but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

Records even showed Patterson's sister once called police after she said he threatened to kill her for accusing him of having sex with young girls.

Then a year before the 3-year-old's death, JoJo's mother reached out to law enforcement, saying Patterson was threatening her and her 2-year-old daughter.

"He said he would cut my son out of my womb, cut his throat, and if I'm lucky, after he get through raping me, he'll cut me and put me in the Mississippi River."

One of Patterson's former girlfriends reached out to WREG after JoJo's death and she wasn't the only one who claimed the man terrorized her for years.

"He stalked me on the phone, he followed me."

he News Channel 3 Investigators also uncovered court records that showed Patterson's ex-wife raised similar concerns during their divorce. They had an infant that died on Patterson's watch.

The Medical Examiners ruled it SIDs, but her daughter said she saw Patterson shake and throw the baby on the bed.

The trial continues on Thursday.