Valdosta Daily Times

July 20, 2013

Third arrest made

Police: Armed robbery charge related to shooting death case

Dean Poling
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — A 20-year-old woman was arrested Friday on an armed robbery charge related to last weekend’s murder of 22-year-old Robert Pett, according to the Valdosta Police Department Friday.

Kathryn Cortez, 20, of Valdosta is charged with armed robbery, police reported. Cortez voluntarily surrendered to the Lowndes County Jail in relation to this charge and was still being held there Friday evening, according to police reports. Cortez’s mugshot photograph was not available Friday evening.

An ongoing investigation into the July 13 shooting death of Pett revealed a female connected to the case, a woman who knew the two suspects arrested earlier this week and charged with the Valdosta resident’s murder.

Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress said Friday evening that his department’s investigators developed substantial evidence that a woman and two men plotted to rob Pett, and the robbery led to his murder.

Georgia State Patrol and Port Wentworth, Ga., police arrested Michael Pindling, 22, and Deron Wallace, 21, Wednesday night in the Savannah area. They reportedly drove to New York last weekend after Pett was discovered dead, shot several times in the upper torso, in an abandoned Walnut Street house, according to the Valdosta police investigation.

Pindling and Wallace are charged with murder, according to Valdosta police. These suspects have been brought from custody in the Savannah area to the Lowndes County Jail, where they were still incarcerated Friday evening.

No additional arrests are expected in this investigation, the police chief said.

Since Pett’s body was discovered at approximately 9:30 p.m. Saturday, July 13, Valdosta police investigators and Valdosta-Lowndes Regional Crime Laboratory criminalists built the case from evidence gathered at the scene.