Jury convicts Gaston Co. man of beating amputee, stealing prosthetic leg

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — A Gaston County man will spend more than a decade in prison for nearly beating an amputee to death and then stealing his prosthetic leg as a trophy.

Channel 9’s partners at The Gaston Gazette reported a jury convicted Patrick Christopher on several charges related to the August 2016 attack.

Christopher broke into Aaron Sanders' home near Stanley and beat him with a baseball bat and machete before stealing from him.

Christopher will spend up to 16 years behind bars.

Man attacked with machete testifies assailants took prosthetic leg as trophy

An amputee came face to face in court with a man accused of attacking him with a baseball bat and taking his prosthetic leg as a trophy.

Aaron Sanders survived the attack in his Gaston County home and took the stand to testify against the man accused of plotting to kill him.

Patrick Christopher devised a plan to kill Sanders in his home, police said.

[Police: Amputee's prosthetic leg taken in near-fatal beating]

Sanders said talking about the attack that almost took his life was hard, but he survived. And he felt compelled to go after the man accused of planning it.

Sanders was sound asleep at his home near Stanley on Aug. 3, 2016.

"I was dead asleep, then woke up to a taser," Sanders said.

He said Christopher shocked him and when he woke there were masked men on either side of his bed.

One had a machete and he said Christopher had a baseball bat, as well as the Taser.

"I'm trying to figure out what was really going on and how to survive," Sanders testified.

Sanders said Christopher hit him in the face with the baseball bat. The men tied his hands to his leg and hit him several times with the machete, cutting him to the bone.

"I was terrified," Sanders said.

He said Christopher made a chilling statement to his partner who held the machete.

"He said, ‘You should cut his head off,’" Sanders said.

Sanders pretended to have a seizure, which he said stopped the man with the machete.

"He said, ‘He's got to go anyway. You hit him pretty good with that ball bat,’" Sanders said.

The assailants stole Sanders' SUV, several items from the home, and Christopher took his $42,000 prosthetic leg as a trophy, he said.

Prosecutors said Christopher was angry because Sanders dated his ex-wife and kicked her out of his home.

Christopher's defense attorney didn't deny the attack but said the suspect was not one of the men involved.

"What the evidence also will not show is one single piece of physical evidence that has Mr. Christopher there," attorney Michael Neese said.

The other masked attacker and Christopher's ex-wife confessed to their roles in the attack. They testified against Christopher after accepting plea deals.

They each received a one-year prison sentence.

Christopher's attorney said his client can be sentenced to decades in prison if he is found guilty of attempted murder and larceny.