Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

July 19, 2013

Two arrested on murder charges

Suspects linked to Saturday night shooting death

VALDOSTA — Two suspects have been arrested on murder charges in connection with the Saturday night shooting death of a 22-year-old Lowndes County man, according to the Valdosta Police Department Thursday.

Michael Pindling, 22, and Deron Wallace, 21, are charged with murder in the shooting death of Robert Pett, 22, according to police reports.

Both suspects had reportedly been in the Valdosta area for a month prior to Pett being shot multiple times in the upper torso. The suspects reportedly knew Pett but “we can’t say they were friends but we do know that they had known each other prior to this incident,” said VPD Capt. Bobbi McGraw.

Pett’s body was discovered at approximately 9:30 p.m. Saturday, July 13, in the rear of an abandoned house on the 200 block of Valdosta’s Walnut Street. Police had been called to the area to investigate a prowler, but found Pett, already deceased.

Police said Pett was not staying at the abandoned house and are still investigating why he was at the Walnut Street address, or any other connection he may have had with this area of town. He grew up in the Valdosta area.

Valdosta police investigators and a Valdosta-Lowndes Regional Crime Laboratory criminalist collected and analyzed evidence from the scene, which led to warrants being filed Wednesday evening for the two suspects.

“Detectives obtained information that the suspects had fled the Valdosta area right after the homicide and possibly headed to New York City,” according to a VPD statement. “Information was obtained that the suspects were returning to the Valdosta area on Wednesday. Authorities along the possible route were notified and Pindling and Wallace were arrested in the Savannah, Ga., area by Georgia State Patrol and Port Wentworth, Ga., police.”

In addition to the murder charge, they face additional, unspecified charges, according to police. On Thursday, they were being held in the Savannah-Chatham County Jail, pending their return to Lowndes County. Valdosta police detectives traveled to Savannah to continue working their case.

VPD officials commended the dedicated and efficient work of police detectives and the “extraordinary job” of crime lab personnel and forensic ballistics specialists collecting and analyzing evidence in the case leading to the arrests. The VPD also commended the Georgia State Patrol and Port Wentworth police for making the arrests along the Georgia-South Carolina state line. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Gang Task Force assisted.

“I am pleased regarding the fact our detectives took a case with little evidence and eventually identified the two suspects, obtained significant evidence to include a possible murder weapon, and ensured the offenders were arrested without incident,” said Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress. “I am also impressed with the performance of the Valdosta/Lowndes Regional Crime Laboratory who within less than 24 hours analyzed evidence which linked the suspects to the murder. This was the intent of a local laboratory to conduct evidence analysis quickly and help resolve criminal cases, and this case proves our laboratory is working.”

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