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Pittman found guilty on all counts in double murder

A nine-man, three-woman jury in Harrison Superior Court deliberated a little more than an hour yesterday afternoon before finding Hobert Alan (Albert) Pittman, 25, guilty as charged in the shooting deaths of his father and step-grandmother and the near death of his stepmother in Mauckport two years ago.
‘I’m relieved,’ said Albert Pittman’s stepmother, Linda Pittman, who survived a barrage of shotgun blasts by playing dead. ‘Thank God, justice was served.’
Albert Pittman showed no emotion as the verdicts were read, but his mother, Eva Mullin, sobbed in the courtroom.
Minutes later, she said her son could not have committed the murders.
‘My son did not shoot his dad, and he did not shoot that old woman,’ she said. ‘He doesn’t have a heart to do something like that.’
Mullin said she doesn’t believe her son received a fair trial. ‘There was evidence that should have been submitted,’ she said.
She declined to say what that evidence was.
A co-defendant in the murders, John Michael Naylor, 22, is expected to go to trial this fall. He is charged with the same crimes as Pittman: two counts of murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit burglary, burglary, theft and auto theft.
After the verdict was pronounced yesterday, Judge Roger D. Davis told the jurors their job wasn’t quite complete. Because the state is seeking a life sentence for Pittman without the possibility of parole, the jury must hear testimony to decide whether the sentence is warranted. If the jury recommends life without parole, then the judge must follow that recommendation, Davis told the jurors.
In reaching that decision, the jurors must consider the testimony during trial and during the sentencing hearing in determining aggravating circumstances. The judge said any of the following circumstances would qualify as aggravating:
That the murder was committed during a burglary, that the murderer was ‘laying in wait’ and that the murderer was on probation for a felony offense when the murders occurred. ‘The state must prove at least one of those aggravating circumstances,’ the judge said.
Pittman was found guilty of killing his father, Hobert Pittman, 59, with a single shot to the back of his head when he returned to his secluded Mauckport home on the afternoon of June 12, 2004. He had spent part of the day in Marengo doing repairs to the fence at his wife’s mother’s farm.
When Linda Pittman arrived later, with her wheelchair-bound mother in the back of the van, Linda testified she had seen Albert Pittman coming out of the garage. He stopped in front of the van she said, and began firing. ‘As best I can remember, I sat there and screamed,’ she said.
Moments later, she said Albert went back in the garage and came out in her Ford Explorer. ‘He and somebody else got out of my Explorer and started shooting again.
‘Something told me to play dead, and that’s what I did,’ Linda Pittman said. ‘I tried not to move.’
She said, ‘They got back in the Explorer and left.’
Mitigating circumstances, those that would support a lesser sentence, include ‘anything either one of you think should be taken into consideration,’ Davis told the jury. Those would include such things as Albert’s young age, his education and background, and his character.
Harrison Superior Court Chief Probation Officer Diane Harrison was called to the stand by Chief Dep. Prosecutor John Colin. She testified that Albert Pittman was on probation in 2003 as part of a plea bargain for committing a burglary. She was the only witness called by the prosecution.
The defense called Albert Pittman’s mother to the stand. She testified emotionally on behalf of her son. She said he had suffered a traumatic birth, had not had a ‘normal’ childhood and was ‘very hyperactive.’
Mullin said her son started school in special education classes where he was ridiculed and would fight with other students for that reason. His parents were divorced when he was about 10, and he was angry. He received counseling ‘as much as I could afford,’ his mother said.
A juror, in a written question, asked, ‘Does he know the difference between right and wrong?’
She said, ‘As far as I know, yes.’
Davis dismissed the jury at 5:30 yesterday evening to reconvene this morning at 9:30. More testimony is expected.
‘I prefer to have the jury fresh when making important decisions,’ the judge said.
Myrtle Satterfield, 80, had moved in with her daughter and son-in-law in 2003 due to a nervous condition, Linda Pittman said while testifying Thursday.
She pointed straight at her stepson as the one who shot and killed her husband, Hobert Pittman, 59, and her mother, on June 12, 2004, and left Linda with multiple gunshot wounds. She said Albert shot first and was then joined by another male whom she could not identify.
‘Albert Pittman killed my husband, and he shot my mother,’ Linda said, angrily jabbing her forefinger at Albert, who was seated at the defense table some 10 to 12 feet in front of her. Much of that time, Albert looked down at the table.
Linda said she had not seen her husband’s body, which was on the ground between his pickup and the house. He was partially covered with a blue tarp, and his ball cap was on the ground nearby.
During cross examination, defense counsel Shane Gibson asked what time she and her mother had arrived home that day from Marengo, where she and her husband had been working on Myrtle’s farm. ‘I don’t know,’ Linda said.
He accused her of several ‘You don’t knows,’ and asked: ‘But you are positive it was Albert that shot you?’
‘I swear on my mother’s grave,’ she said, wiping away a tear as she struggled to remain composed.
‘How many times did Albert shoot you?’ Gibson asked.
‘I know at least twice, maybe three times,’ she said, adding that Albert had been joined by another shooter after his first shot.
Other testimony revealed that police found the van driven by Linda riddled with shotgun blasts.
They also found Linda’s Ford Explorer which had been left at the house when she drove her mother to the farm in the van, which is handicapped accessible. Myrtle Satterfield’s legs had been amputated above the knees.
The Explorer, left beneath the Matthew E. Welsh Bridge, was driven there either by Albert Pittman or Naylor. Linda could not identify the driver as she sped into the middle of Mauckport for help.
In the Explorer, police found two shotguns in the back seat and 15 more in the cargo area, along with ammunition. The two men had been seen by Darryl Mosier of Mauckport, who stopped to help Linda and then headed toward S.R. 11, about a half mile away. He testified that he saw two males get out of the Explorer and into a small red and silver car and head across the Matthew E. Welsh Bridge to Kentucky.
Pittman and Naylor were arrested at Daytona Beach, Fla., two days later.
Editor’s note: Information for this story was also gathered by Staff Writer Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor.