Valdosta Daily Times

January 28, 2014

Woman enters plea in robbery

Authorities: Crime linked to shooting death

Adam Floyd
The Valdosta Daily Times

MOODY AFB — A woman facing charges related to a 2013 shooting death pleaded guilty in Lowndes County Superior Court last week to armed robbery.

Kathryn Cortez, 21, voluntarily surrendered to authorities in July after being charged with armed robbery after investigators uncovered her part in the events that led to the death of 22-year-old Robert Pett.

Pett’s body was discovered in the rear of an abandoned house in the 200 block of Walnut Street on July 13, 2013, while Valdosta police were responding to a call regarding a prowler. He had been shot several times in the upper torso.

Investigators gathered evidence that led to the arrest of Michael Pindling, 22, and Deron Wallace, 21, who were both charged with Pett’s murder, according to past records.

Cortez was arrested after investigators developed substantial evidence that she plotted with others to rob Pett and helped lure him to the abandoned house.

In comments made to the court Friday, Assistant Southern District Attorney Cathy Helms said that Cortez sent text messages to Pett to arrange a meeting and that Cortez admitted to taking Pett’s backpack after he was shot.

Cortez pleaded guilty to armed robbery and faces 10 to 20 years in the state penal system. She is scheduled to be sentenced March 7, but Helms anticipates that the sentencing will be continued until after she testifies at the trial of Pindling and Wallace, which is tentatively scheduled for next week.