A 21-year-old Christianity student and children's minister who allegedly murdered his fiancée he was expected to wed in August, then tried to make it look like a suicide, has been suspended by his church after he was arrested and charged by the Jackson Police Department in Tennessee.
Investigators in the case announced Saturday that they had charged Charles Pittman, 21, with the first-degree murder of his fiancée, Olivia Greenlee, 21. Pittman was also charged with tampering with evidence related to the murder, according to the Jackson Sun.
Both Pittman and Greenlee attended Union University in Tennessee where Pittman is a senior Christian ministries major while Greenlee was a senior in music education. While the two were engaged they lived separately off campus.
Capt. Tyreece Miller said that at 7:50 a.m. Wednesday, police were called to a parking lot behind Luther Hall on campus where Greenlee was discovered dead in her 2001 Toyota Corolla. A gun was found inside the car and the preliminary cause of death was noted as a single gunshot wound.
During a three-day investigation Miller said they discovered that the gun belonged to a friend of Pittman's who acknowledged it was his gun but did not know it was taken.
Pittman soon became a person of interest in the case, and after a follow-up interview he was taken into custody based on the findings of investigators. Police argue that Pittman shot Greenlee as she sat in her car on Tuesday night, then staged the scene to make it look like it was a suicide.
"This case shows that domestic violence affects people from all different races, religions and socioeconomic statuses," Miller said on Saturday.
In a news release Saturday, Union University President David S. Dockery called the incident "devastating."
"Olivia was found dead in her vehicle on an auxiliary part of our campus earlier this week. This tragedy, involving two Union University commuter students, is incredibly devastating and saddening news," said Dockery.
"Understanding that an arrest is not the same thing as a conviction, we now need to let the judicial process run its course. Union University continues to cooperate with authorities. ... During this difficult time, words motivated by hatred or judgment are not helpful to anyone. I want to encourage us to pray for all the families connected to this tragedy. Let us ask for God's wisdom, comfort, help and mercy during the days and weeks to come," he added.
Church leaders at Providence Baptist Church in Alamo, where Pittman served as youth and children's minister, say he has been suspended pending the outcome of the case against him, according to a WBBJ report.
Reverend Randy Kellough released this statement Sunday:
"We were deeply saddened by the news of the death of Olivia Greenlee, and as a church body we are praying for the family and friends and will continue praying for them in the days ahead. We have been informed of the arrest of Charlie Pittman, our youth and children's minister. We will pray for Brother Charlie and his family and friends. At this time, we have no further comment other than to reiterate our concern for the family and friends of Olivia during this tragic loss of such an awesome, young Christian lady. As a church, we will be praying for all parties involved."