By Bob Allen
A judge in Jackson, Tenn., ruled July 10 that there is enough evidence against a former Union University student accused of murdering his fiancée and staging her death to look like a suicide to send the case to a grand jury.
Charles “Charlie” Pittman, 21, appeared before Jackson City Court Judge Blake Anderson in a preliminary hearing. He is charged with first-degree murder and tampering with evidence in the death of Olivia Greenlee, a 21-year-old music education major found dead from a gunshot wound in a car parked on the edge of the campus on Feb. 12.
Police say Pittman, a Christian ministry major and former member of the golf team at the Tennessee Baptist Convention-affiliated university, initially reported Greentree as missing, but later changed his story to claim he was sitting beside her in the vehicle when she took her own life.
Pittman says he panicked and fled the scene because he didn’t want people to think he was responsible or that his fiancée was “a psychotic person who was planning on killing herself.”
Investigators say physical evidence including blood spatters and the fact the gun was wedged between the console and seat cushion almost like in a holster doesn’t support Pittman’s account.
Investigator Ron Pugh of the Jackson Police Department testified at the preliminary hearing that Pittman didn’t show any emotion during questioning until he learned that clothing he submitted to police for investigation was a different color from what he was seen wearing in surveillance video at a fast-food restaurant shortly before Greentree’s death.
Pittman has been in jail without bond since his arrest. After court-ordered mental evaluations in Jackson and Nashville, he was found competent to stand trial.
According to the Jackson Sun, the grand jury will meet on Oct. 6. If indicted, Pittman will return to court in 2015 for a jury trial.