90-year-old murder suspect dies in hospital

Published 10:59 pm Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Officials say Tuesday’s death of 90-year-old murder suspect Bob PIttman, who refused to eat while incarcerated, won’t stop them from presenting this case to the grand jury.

Pittman was charged with the May murder of 82-year-old Doris Adams of Troy, who was found dead in her home from what appeared to be a gunshot wound, according to the warrant filed in the Pike County Circuit Court.

Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas said Pittman had to be hospitalized shortly after his arrest because he refused to eat. “He was dehydrated because he wasn’t eating,” Thomas said. “His kidneys were shutting down.”

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Thomas said Pittman spent three days in the hospital before returning to the jail. Several days later, he returned to Troy Regional Medical Center again. He had been there for six days when he died Tuesday, Thomas said.

Even though Pittman is now dead, Pike County District Attorney Gary McAliley said he will present evidence to the Pike County Grand Jury on June 24.

“Even though Robert Pittman is now deceased, it’s up to the grand jury to find whether he’s culpable, whether one person acted alone,” McAliley said. “We’ll do it even though he’s dead … because people have the right to know there’s not another person out there killing people.”

And McAliley said this case is especially important to him because the victim’s daughter also lost her father to an unsolved crime. “Her father was killed, and (we) never found out who did it,” he said. “We wanted to do everything we could to make sure she knew who murdered her mother.”

McAliley said he could not release details of the case, since evidence will be presented in court. However, he said he will release all the details after the grand jury makes a ruling.

He also said he has learned Pittman did have criminal history in California.

Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford, who closely watched as Troy Police uncovered evidence in this case, said he believes Pittman was guilty of the crime.

“The police work on this case was extremely detailed, and I’m proud that they put the time and effort to (attempt to prove) the case,” Lunsford said. “The police ballistically matched a bullet fired from the gun that he had purchased shortly before the killing to the bullet that actually inflicted death.”

Lunsford said he struggled to find the words to say after hearing Pittman had died before trial. But while he said he was sorry for the family’s loss, he was certain justice will be served.

“I’m sorry for the Pittman’s family because it’s a wonderful family and good people,” Lunsford said. “Although he didn’t go before the judge and jury here on earth, I feel like appropriate punishment is being administered as we speak.”