Gene Patton told his girlfriend that his stepson, James R. Terrovona (defendant), called him to report car trouble on 116th Street in Marysville, Washington, and requested Patton's assistance. Patton told his girlfriend that he must be crazy, but he was leaving to help Terrovona. Shortly thereafter, a passerby found Patton's murdered body on 116th Street. The State of Washington (plaintiff) prosecuted Terrovona for Patton's murder. The trial judge admitted evidence of Patton's statement to the girlfriend. Patton's statement was the strongest evidence of Terrovona's guilt. A jury convicted Terrovona, and he appealed to the Supreme Court of Washington, arguing Patton's statement was inadmissible hearsay.