Murders A-Z is a collection of true crime stories that take an in-depth look at both little-known and infamous murders throughout history.
With Kansas couple Ed Patton Jr. and Tyler Block Patton, it was certainly a case of opposites attract.
He was a hard-partying, self-described “trust funder,” while she grew up poor and labored to make something of herself. The two found each other in middle age, fell in love, and got married.
Friends thought the couple’s differences helped bring out the best in each other, but when Ed was murdered less than a year after they tied the knot, their picture-perfect image came crumbling down.
Ed Patton Jr. grew up in a prominent family in Johnson County, Kansas, just south of Kansas City. His parents ran Ed Patton Realtors, a successful real estate business in the area. He had a comfortable life and an easygoing personality to match.
“He liked to laugh, have a good time. He was definitely a very outgoing guy, liked to be the center of attention,” local reporter Anthony Powell told Oxygen’s “Snapped,” airing Sundays at 6/5c on Oxygen.
Although he was born into affluence, Ed worked hard to earn his place in the family business. When the workday was done, however, it was time for fun.
“From all accounts, he liked to go out and party,” Kansas City Stay reporter Tony Rizzo told “Snapped.”
Part of Ed’s partying lifestyle included recreationally smoking marijuana and indulging in other drugs, according to court documents.
Following the death of his father in 1987, Ed began receiving money from a trust fund, and he enjoyed his 40s as a wealthy bachelor.
“There were a lot of women in and out of his life, and he loved the attention of having beautiful women on his arm,” Powell said. “And he loved the fact that he had money and that he could treat these women the way they want to be treated.”
Ed’s life as a single man came to an end in 1998, when he met a blonde bombshell named Tyler Block, who had been raised in a hardscrabble, blue-collar neighborhood in Kansas City.
“Like a lot of people that grow up poor, Tyler definitely wanted something more for her life,” Powell said. “She didn’t have a formal college education, but she had a very strong drive to be successful and that led her to opening up a nail salon that actually did pretty well.”
While Tyler excelled as a businesswoman, she was unlucky at love. By the time she met Ed, she had been married three times, most recently to a man named Michael Block, who worked in real estate. After that marriage fell apart, she changed her name from Phyllis to Tyler, sold her nail salon, and started working in real estate, just like her ex-husband.
At first, Tyler was apprehensive about dating the party boy bachelor, but she eventually came around.
“Ed was sort of a cut-up, and Tyler was more of a serious person, but she liked to have a good time,” friend Ross Phillippe told “Snapped.”
Ed and Tyler married in February 2000. Not only were they now husband and wife, but they were also business partners. The Pattons began buying properties in and around Kansas City to renovate and sell at a profit. Friends and family alike felt the couple were a great match.
“I have known two couples that I thought were perfect for each other, and Eddie and Tyler were one of them,” friend Carolyn Phillippe told “Snapped.”
The future looked bright, but it didn’t last for long.
On the night of January 16, 2001, less than a year after Ed and Tyler got married, Overland Park Police responded to a 911 call at the Patton residence. Tyler reported she had come home that evening to find the house ransacked, and that she heard someone inside.
When officers arrived, Tyler claimed she had been staying at one of their rental properties because Ed had the flu, and he did not want her to get sick. She had not spoken to her husband since the previous afternoon, she told police.
“When we opened the front door, I announced very loudly ‘Police Department’,” Overland Park Police Officer Steve Parker told “Snapped.” “I yelled, ‘Ed are you here?’ I got no response.”
Officers noticed blood spatter on the stairs leading up to the second floor, and when they entered the master bedroom, they were hit with the unmistakable odor of a rotting corpse.
In the bed was Ed’s body. He was lying on his back, arms at his side, and he was covered with several blankets that were soaked in blood.
Ed was almost unrecognizable— his face had been caved in by blunt force trauma and had been decomposing for several days, according to court documents.
“I could see brain matter and blood splatter all over the headboard,” Officer Parker told “Snapped.” “In all my years of law enforcement, this is by far one of the most violent crime scenes I had ever seen.”
A sliver of red-colored wood was found under the blankets. It would later be matched to a bloody two-by-four board, wrapped in a towel and left on the back porch of the Patton home, according to local newspaper the Lawrence Journal-World.
A medical examiner determined Ed had been struck at least eight times in the face and skull. He had no defensive injuries on his hands and arms, indicating he was asleep or otherwise incapacitated when he was killed. A pathologist concluded that he had been dead at least 48 hours before he was discovered, according to court documents.
Investigators were puzzled by the crime scene, which they said appeared to have been staged.
In the basement of the Pattons’ house, they found marijuana and drug paraphernalia that looked like it had been placed on display. Though the house showed signs of being ransacked, few valuables were missing.
“A Gucci watch was the first indicator to me when I walked in the house that there was a problem. Because if a person was stealing stuff, even if they got just the Gucci watch, they would’ve gotten it … out of there,” Overland Police Officer Andy Black told “Snapped.”
The severity of Ed’s beating death also led detectives to believe this was a personal attack, not a robbery gone wrong.
“If it was a burglar, they may hit a person one time and knock ‘em out and get away,” Black said. “The amount of damage done to [Ed] indicates that the person who did it had a lot of rage toward the victim.”
When Tyler spoke to police, she told them Ed “treated her like a queen,” according to former Overland Park Police officer Diane Gaffney, and that the two were very much in love.
The only problem in their relationship, according to Tyler, was his drug use and open-door policy for his hard-partying friends. She told police Ed had struggled with addiction and previously used marijuana and cocaine, and that a lot of unscrupulous people came in and out of their home throughout the day and night.
“[Investigators] have to look at that possibility [that] he was involved with some nefarious, shady characters in the drug business,” Rizzo said.
Before investigators could even being tracking down these people, however, Tyler added another potential suspect to the mix — her half-brother, Mark Walsh. Tyler told authorities the only time she heard from Walsh was when he needed money, and when she eventually cut him off, he held her hostage for three hours.
“She expressed concern [that] he was trying to strangle her threatened her,” Phillippe told “Snapped.”
Tyler also claimed that the couple had recently switched which side of the bed they normally sleep on, and that the killer could have mistakenly murdered Ed believing it was her under the covers.
Could Walsh have killed Ed in a case of mistaken identity? Or, was it possible that Walsh had murdered Ed in the hopes of acquiring the money Tyler stood to inherit in the event of her husband’s death?
While it was compelling theory, police determined there was no evidence Walsh was ever at the Patton home, and after questioning him, he was ruled out as a suspect.
Authorities soon began to find inconsistencies in Tyler's story. According to friends and acquaintances, the Pattons’ picture-perfect marriage was not all that it seemed. They often fought over money, and Tyler complained that he didn’t make enough to support the lifestyle she wanted.
Law enforcement later found a diary Ed kept called “Tyler Time Journal,” according to court documents. In it, Ed chronicled the couple’s increasing marital problems, including transcriptions of various fights and arguments.
A recording of a telephone call between Ed and Tyler made less than two weeks before his murder was also discovered by authorities. On it, Tyler said she was no longer in love with Ed and wanted to move into one of the properties they owned, according to court documents.
“They had a fight in January. And, she moved out to that other house,” friend Carrolyn Phillippe told “Snapped.” “She moved to that other house before he ever got sick. It wasn’t because he had the flu.”
Although authorities believed Tyler was responsible for Ed’s murder, they lacked any conclusive evidence until lab reports came back that showed her DNA on the two-by-four that was used to bludgeon Ed to death.
“[T]he murder weapon had her DNA on one end, and his DNA on the other,” Officer Black said.
Tyler was arrested on July 6, 2001 and charged with first-degree murder. She was found guilty the following year and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison, according to “Snapped."
To this day, Tyler continues to maintain her innocence in the murder of her husband. She claims she was the intended target of the murder and points to Walsh, who is now deceased, as the likeliest suspect.
She will be eligible for parole in 2026, at the age of 76.
To learn more about the case, watch "Snapped" on Oxygen.
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