An Otto couple allegedly involved in a murder case earlier this month face additional charges, including first degree murder.
According to police reports, Frank Kelly Pruitt, 62, was initially charged with second degree murder for fatally shooting his son on July 8 following a heated argument at his Coweeta Lab Road residence. He had called authorities moments before the incident requesting assistance according to 9-1-1 recordings. Nearby neighbors also reportedly made calls to authorities. His wife, Kathy Paulette Pruitt, 53, was charged at that time with resisting, obstructing or delaying an officer.
State prosecutors are now pursuing additional charges for both individuals.
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 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.
At last week’s hearing, Judge Richard Walker ordered that Pruitt be held without bond pending a further hearing. Additionally, he is not to contact relatives involved in the case, including his wife. 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.
Upon arrival at the home, authorities discovered the couple’s seriously wounded son, 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 wife.
Kathy Paulette Pruitt, the suspect’s wife and the victim’s mother, was also arrested and charged with two counts of resisting, obstructing and delaying an officer. At the July 23 session of Superior Court, she was charged with misdemeanor counts of assault with a deadly weapon with a minor present and another count of simple assault.
During the afternoon session of Superior Court on July 23, the wife was also indicted on three additional charges; one felony count of first degree murder, one felony count of soliciting to commit murder and one misdemeanor count of assault on a government officer.
The wife was 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 reportedly tried to kick out the window. According to Macon County Sheriff Robbie Holland, Kathy appeared to be intoxicated at the time of her arrest.
Both Frank and Kathy Pruitt are being held without bond and are scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 2. If it is determined that they are indigent and cannot afford representation, they will both be appointed an attorney.
The District Attorney’s office declined to comment on the case as of Tuesday.