Panama City- Manslaughter suspect Patrick Bass was found guilty Thursday of felony possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Jurors took less than 30 minutes to come to the unanimous decision of guilty as charged.
"The defendant will be adjudcated guilty of felony possesion of a firearm. We'll fingerprint him, and he'll be taken into custody," said Circuit Judge Michael Overstreet.
Earlier that day, the defense spent the majority of its case with Bass himself on the stand. The focus Thursday turned from who killed victim Anthony Petracca to whose gun it was. During cross examination, Bass publicly admitted for the first time he was the shooter.
"I closed my eyes and raised the gun and fired one shot," testified Bass.
But to find him guilty in this trial, the jury would have to find beyond a resonable doubt that the convicted felon was in actual possession of that firearm at some point when the fatal shooting happened. They would have to agree it was no accident. Bass maintained his innocence in that regard.
He claimed the gun belonged to another man, Tommy Anderson. Bass told the jury Anderson dropped the firearm during what the defense labeled "30 seconds of chaos," and only picked it up to save his and his friends' lives.
"If he (Petracca) got me with that sword, he was probably going to kill my friends too," said Bass.
The state attacked that label during their closing argument rebuttal.
"Who created this zone of danger, this thirty seconds of chaos? I'll sumbit to you it was the defendant and his friends' own making and therefore this necessity defense does not apply," said Assistant State Attorney Larry Basford.
The conviction carries a minimum three years, maximum 15 in prison. The judge set a tentative sentencing date for September 4th.
Bass also still faces the manslaughter charge, and Thursday's verdict carried major implications on any future trial for that. If a plea bargain isn't reached, the defense would not be able to argue the Stand Your Ground law, only an arguably less-effective self-defense claim.