Charles Andre Pittman, 21, appeared in Jackson City Court at 8 a.m. Tuesday, via video feed, on charges of first-degree murder and tampering with evidence in connection with the homicide of 21-year-old Olivia Marie Greenlee.
Greenlee was also a honor student at Union University, located at 1050 Union University Drive. The couple lived off-campus at Cherry Grove Apartments, which is located next to the university. They did not live together, Jackson Police Captain Tyreece Miller said Tuesday during a news conference following Pittman’s arraignment.
Pittman, a senior Christian ministries major, is originally from Milan, Tenn., he told Judge Blake Anderson during his arraignment. He and Greenlee got engaged in May 2013 and Miller said the couple were scheduled to be married in August of this year.
Miller, who is commander of the Jackson Police Department's Criminal Investigation Division, said there was no reported history of domestic violence between the couple.
“But again, in domestic situations, violence can be unreported,” Miller said. “I’m not insinuating that was the case in this situation, but, just understand that sometimes there are a lot of things that happen behind closed doors that might not necessarily be reported to police.”
Miller added, “Right now, the motive is still under investigation. We have something that is developing and right now we are pursuing it.”
Pittman told Anderson Tuesday that he was employed at Logan’s Roadhouse, moved to Jackson in June, had family in Jackson and Milan, and had no drug, alcohol or mental problems.
Pittman said he couldn't afford an attorney and Anderson said he would appoint a public defender to represent Pittman.
Pittman was also ordered to have no contact with Union University and should not go on the campus.
Pittman’s preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Feb. 27 at 9:30 a.m. in city court.
According to an affidavit of complaint, Jackson police officers were dispatched to Luther Hall, located on the campus of Union University, at 7:47 a.m. on Feb. 12.
Greenlee had been discovered dead inside her locked, green 2001 Toyota Corolla in the parking lot behind Luther Hall. The preliminary cause of Greenlee’s death was determined to be a gunshot wound to the head. A 9 mm handgun was also found in the car.
Miller said even though the crime scene looked like a suicide, there were things that didn't add up.
“There were things we thought you would find with a suicide and they weren't there (at the scene),” Miller said.”There was evidence that led us to believe that someone else was in the car with her.”
Miller added, “There was nothing that we found (in learning about Greenlee) that led us to believe that she would commit suicide.”
The affidavit said investigators retraced the hour before Greenlee’s body was found and determined that Pittman was the last person to be with Greenlee.
Miller said the couple had eaten dinner at Quiznos, located at 1081 Vann Drive, on Feb. 11. The couple then left the restaurant around 7 p.m.
When Pittman was first interviewed by investigators, he said after dinner, Greenlee dropped him off at his Cherry Grove apartment, the affidavit said.
Pittman told police that he was concerned about Greenlee’s emotional state and began to text her and search for her with an associate. Pittman even contacted Greenlee’s parents, who traveled from Dyersburg, to help look for their daughter.
The affidavit said on Feb. 12, Pittman called security at Union University and asked them to check the campus for Greenlee. It was this call that led to the discovery of Greenlee’s body.
The campus was closed that day because of inclement weather.
In a follow-up interview on Valentine’s Day, investigators asked Pittman for the clothes he was wearing at Quiznos while having dinner with Greenlee. The affidavit said Pittman tried to mislead them by giving them clothes he was not wearing at the restaurant.
“We knew what Mr. Pittman was wearing when (he and Greenlee) were together,” Miller said. “So, when we went to speak with him and we asked him to provide us with the clothing he was wearing at the time they had dinner, once he deceived us, he immediately became a person of interest.”
Miller added, “The statement that he gave and the evidence at the crime scene didn't add up.
Miller said Quiznos’ video surveillance from the night the couple had dinner revealed what Pittman was really wearing.
Investigators confronted Pittman with his attempt to deceive them and Pittman stated he needed to tell them the truth, the affidavit said. He then gave them the clothes he really wore to the restaurant. The clothing had been washed and bleached.
Pittman deviated from his original statement and told investigators that after the couple left Quiznos, they drove to Luther Hall. He said he gave Greenlee the gun, which was found in her car, and that she shot herself in the head, the affidavit said.
Pittman told investigators that he left her in the car, locked the doors and headed to his apartment. It was while he was on his way to his apartment that he started sending text messages and calling Greenlee’s phone to keep from being suspected once her body was found.
The affidavit said the handgun was stolen from Pittman’s roommate before the shooting. It also said evidence at the scene contradicts Pittman’s account of Greenlee’s death and investigators believe that probable cause exists that Greenlee was murdered by Greenlee.
Miller said police believe the shooting occurred in the parking lot where Greenlee’s body was found and that she had been dead for over 12 hours when her body was found.
“We believe where the car was found was where the murder happened,” Miller said.
Miller also said he knows why the couple went to the parking lot, but he can’t comment on it.
When news of Greenlee’s death was first released, those who knew her and Pittman posted their condolences on Pittman’s Facebook page. They offered him prayers for his loss. Pittman did not post any public comments in response.
Union University President David S. Dockery issued a statement on Feb. 15 after learning that Pittman had been charged in Greenlee’s murder.
“Understanding that an arrest is not the same thing as a conviction, we now need to let the judicial process run its course,” Dockery said in the statement. “Union University continues to cooperate with authorities.”
“Crisis counselors are available to serve our campus community,” he said. “Individuals may connect with them by visiting the front desk at the Bowld Student Commons or by contacting the Office of Student Services.”
Dockery added, “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.”
Miller said he feels that Pittman being held without bond is “certainly appropriate considering this was such a heinous crime.”
“This young lady, from everything we gathered, was full of life, she wanted to live (and) was looking forward to several things like graduation, getting married and things like that,” Miller said. “So, we certainly think it is appropriate. Ms. Greenlee can’t speak anymore so now, we have to speak for her. We look forward to presenting the case in court.”
Miller said the investigation is very complex and that the police has many, many things on their “to-do list.”
Greenlee’s funeral was held on Feb. 16 at 3:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church in Dyersburg, where she was a member.
According to Greenlee's obituary, she was also a member of Union University Singers, a group leader for the children's music camps and the Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority, where she participated in many community activities.
A 2010 honor student and graduate of Dyersburg High School, Greenlee was a member of the DHS Concert Band, the DHS Color Guard, the DHS Choral Group and a member of Miss DHS Court.
Greenlee is survived by her parents, Barry and Tina Greenlee of Dyersburg; two sisters, Sara Hamm and her husband, Zach, of Huntsville, AL and Mollie Greenlee of Dyersburg; and her grandparents, Rev. Joe and Nadene Naylor of Dyersburg and Norvel and Rose Greenlee of Eddyville, Ky.
Olivia Greenlee's family requested that memorials be directed to Youth Villages, Union University Music Scholarship Program or to the Dyersburg First Baptist Church Music Ministry, the obituary said.