Valdosta Daily Times

July 18, 2013

Update: Two arrested in Valdosta murder case

Valdosta Police Department


The Valdosta Police Department had released the following:
ORIGINAL RELEASE:                                         
On July 13, 2013 at approximately 9:30 p.m., Valdosta Police were summoned to an abandoned house located in the 200 block of Walnut Street, Valdosta, Georgia for a possible prowler in the area.  Police arrived on scene and  located Robert Pett,  22 year old Caucasian male, who was deceased  Pett was located at the rear of the house.  Police sealed off the area and began to investigate the incident.  Valdosta Police Department Detectives and Criminalist from the Valdosta Lowndes Regional Crime Laboratory gathered evidence and information from the location.  Details regarding injuries to Pett are not being discussed at this time due to the ongoing nature of the investigation.
Two men have been arrested for the murder of Robert Pett that happened on July 13, 2013.  Michael Pindling, 22 year old African American male and Deron Wallace, 21 year old African American male.  The men had been in the Valdosta area for approximately one month and were known to the victim.   Valdosta Police Department Detectives and Criminalist from the Valdosta-Lowndes Regional Crime Laboratory had collected and analyzed evidence from the case and arrest warrants for murder charges on the two men were obtained yesterday.  Detectives obtained information that the suspects had fled the Valdosta Area right after the homicide and possibly headed to New York City.  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, Georgia area by Georgia State Patrol and Port Wentworth Georgia police.    Valdosta Police Department Detectives executed a search warrant early Thursday morning at a residence that had been occupied by the suspects while they had been in Valdosta and additional evidence related to the homicide was collected to include a handgun possibly used in the offense.  
The two suspects face additional criminal charges as the case is further investigated.  The two offenders are currently being held at the Savannah-Chatham County Jail in Savannah, Georgia pending their return to Lowndes County.  Valdosta Police Department detectives are currently in Savannah following up on the case.  
Detectives from VPD did an outstanding job of following up on all leads and tirelessly staying with the case as it progressed quickly.  Crime Scene personnel and Forensic Ballistic Specialists from the Valdosta-Lowndes Regional Crime Laboratory did an extraordinary job in evidence collection and analyzing evidence to determine its connection to the case. The VPD also appreciates all the assistance given in the investigation by the Georgia State Patrol and Port Wentworth Police who arrested the two offenders at the Georgia/South Carolina state line and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Gang Taskforce who are providing assistance in the follow-up investigation. 
Statement from VPD Chief Brian Childress:  “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. 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.”