Pittman’s preliminary court date postponed until after mental health evaluation

Charles Pittman
Charles Pittman
Charles Pittman, senior Christian ministries major, appears Feb. 27 in Jackson City Court. He has been charged with first-degree murder and tampering with evidence. | Photo by Jacob Moore

City Court Judge Blake Anderson granted a motion Thursday (Feb. 27) that requested a mental health evaluation for Charles Pittman, senior Christian ministries major, who is charged with the first degree murder of his fiancée, Olivia Greenlee, who was a senior music education major.

The forensic evaluation, to be conducted by Pathways Behavioral Health Services in Jackson, will determine whether Pittman was competent at the time of Greenlee’s death and whether he is competent to assist his attorney.

Pittman’s preliminary court date will be set after the evaluation and may take place in one to two months.

George Googe
Media reporters speak with George Googe, public defender for Charles Pittman, outside of the courtroom Feb. 27 at the Jackson City Court building. | Photo by Jacob Moore

Requesting a forensic evaluation in a case of capitol offenses is a fairly standard procedure, said George Googe, Pittman’s public defender.

“When someone is charged with first degree murder, it’s going to be a serious enough thing that everybody wants to make sure everything is done right,” Googe said.

Such an evaluation is used to determine whether there is an insanity defense and whether the defendant is competent to stand trial, Googe said.

Pittman was present at the Jackson City Court. Googe and Pittman have met “a couple of times” in the past few weeks, Googe said.

Googe has worked as a public defender in Jackson since 1990.

Carson Hawkins, director of Safety and Security at Union, and Todd Brady, vice president for University Ministries, both attended in order to stay updated on the case. Hawkins also attended Pittman’s Feb. 18 arraignment.

Greenlee was found dead Feb. 12 in her 2001 Toyota Corolla in the parking lot behind Luther Hall, an auxiliary building on Union’s campus. A 9mm handgun was found inside the locked car, and the preliminary cause of death was a single gunshot wound to the head, according to the affidavit of complaint read at Pittman’s arraignment.

Per university policy, Pittman has been placed on immediate suspension from Union.

Pittman and Greenlee were engaged to marry this August.

The affidavit stated that Pittman had been the last person to see Greenlee alive, and that he had attempted to mislead the police during initial interviews.

When confronted, Pittman stated to investigators that while sitting in the car with Greenlee at Luther Hall, he provided her with the handgun and that Greenlee shot herself, according to the affidavit.

He then stated that he left Greenlee in her car, locked the doors and began walking back to his apartment located in Cherry Grove Apartments, adjacent to Union’s campus.

He also placed calls and sent texts to Greenlee’s phone to avoid suspicion upon her body being found, according to the affidavit.

“The evidence shows that on Tuesday night Pittman shot Greenlee as she sat in her car,” stated a Feb. 15 press release from the Jackson Police Department. “Pittman then staged the crime scene to give the appearance that Greenlee had committed suicide.”

Greenlee’s friends remember her as someone who loved to laugh, sing and share her faith with others.

“There is not a one-size manner in which the student body as a whole is going to process this,” said David Dockery, university president. “That being the case, we want to be sensitive to the struggles that some might face, to be there to provide help, enablement and support while helping those who move to normalcy a little more quickly to be able to flourish.”

Image courtesy of Cardinal & Cream|Cardinal & Cream
About Katherine Burgess 70 Articles
Katherine Burgess, a class of 2015 journalism alumna, is a former Editor-in-Chief of the Cardinal & Cream. Her journalism has taken her from a United Nations Tribunal to the largest maximum security prison in the United States to Capitol Hill. She is now the Education Reporter for the Jackson Sun. Follow her on Twitter @kathsburgess