Judge Roy Morgan, Jr. extended Charlie Pittman’s plea cutoff until April 27 due to a lack of completed evidence reports from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab (TBI).
Jody Pickens, assistant district attorney, said that the ballistics test had been completed. However, the DNA analysis, forensics on several seized computers and the report on blood analysis are still outstanding with no certain date of completion.
“Because TBI has such a backlog, we really don’t have the evidence we need to proceed,” said George Googe, district public defender. “We’re doing what we can, but we won’t know what we need to do until we get those reports.”
Morgan said the trial will remain scheduled for May 12-14, though that could change if the backlog at TBI continues. If it remains as scheduled, lawyers will have only three weeks until the trial if the case is not resolved April 27.
“The three week time crunch could make it difficult to prepare for trial,” Googe said.
He also expressed concern about selecting an impartial jury due to the media attention the case has garnered so far.
“That concern will stay with me all the way through the case, though we are working with the state to do everything we can,” Googe said.
Morgan also granted the defense’s motion to reveal any plea deals made with Michael Ray Williams, witness for the prosecution. Googe said it is standard in court cases for the state to agree to reveal plea deals made with anyone testifying against the defendant.
Pittman is charged with first degree murder and tampering with evidence in connection with the February 2014 death of his fiancée, Olivia Greenlee. He entered a not-guilty plea at his arraignment Nov. 10 and remains in custody though bail was set at $1 million during a Feb. 9 hearing.
Greenlee was found dead Feb. 12, 2014 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.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled the name of Jody Pickens.