An Otto man who allegedly shot and killed his son earlier this month in Macon County is now facing first degree murder.
During the July 18 session of Superior Court, Assistant District Attorney Jason Arnold issued a notice of dismissal for the count of second degree murder faced by 62-year-old Frank Kelly Pruitt. According to the dismissal, the state will proceed on an alternate charge of first degree murder.
Such a charge is contingent upon malice aforethought and premeditation being found by prosecutors prior to a fatal incident, according to General Statute 14-17. First degree murder can carry two possible punishments; life without parole or capital punishment.
Pruitt, who on the evening of July 8 was charged with second degree murder for fatally shooting his son following a heated argument at his 1920 Coweeta Lab Road residence, had called authorities moments before the incident to request assistance. Nearby neighbors also made calls to authorities.
Upon arrival officers discovered the victim, 34-year-old Robert Pruitt. After being rushed to Angel Medical Center, the son was declared dead on arrival. The incident reportedly occurred in front of Robert’s children and his wife.
On Wednesday’s hearing, Judge Richard Walker ordered that Pruitt be held without bond pending a further hearing. Additionally, he is not to contact relatives Haleigh, Emily, Julie, Riley or Kathy Pruitt. Pruitt, who is confined to a wheelchair, is being held in a Raleigh prison facility due to health issues, according to the clerk of court’s office.
Pruitt is scheduled to appear in court on August 2. If it is determined that he is indigent and cannot afford representation, he will be appointed an attorney.
Kathy Paulette Pruitt, the suspect’s wife and Robert’s mother, was also arrested and charged with two counts of resisting, obstructing and delaying an officer. Her court case was continued to Aug. 2, along with her husband's. Her court appointed attorney has yet to be determined.
The wife was reportedly uncooperative with officers after the incident, allegedly not telling investigators where the gun used in the shooting was located. To secure the scene, she was placed in a patrol car where she tried to kick out the window, reported Sheriff Robert Holland. According to Holland, Kathy appeared to be intoxicated at the time of her arrest.
Arnold declined to comment on the case as of Thursday.