Pittman sentenced to 55 years for murder, other charges
Christian Pittman, who was found guilty in early June of robbery, felony murder and fleeing the scene of an accident, appeared for his sentencing yesterday morning (Tuesday) in Harrison Superior Court.
Pittman was sentenced to 55 years in jail with a five-year suspension period; 17 of those years are concurrent for the count of robbery and six years are concurrent due to fleeing the scene of an accident.
The crimes were in regard to the night of Feb. 10, 2020, when Pittman, Dalton Madley and Sam Smith went to purchase marijuana from Christina Grimsley. The drug deal went awry, ultimately resulting in Grimsley’s death after being thrown from the pick-up truck driven by Pittman.
During his final statements, Harrison County Prosecutor J. Otto Schalk called for Pittman to be sentenced to 68 years with no probation.
However, Judge Joseph (Joe) Claypool noted that mitigating factors included Pittman’s age at the time of the crimes and his sentiment of remorse played a factor in the sentencing.
In a statement, Pittman addressed the court and those in attendance for the sentencing saying he apologized for all he did and “what got everyone to this point.” He noted he was addicted to drugs at the time of the crimes, which caused “a horrible accident that took a life.”
“I was not thinking; I was not myself,” Pittman said. “I would have traded places with her if I could. Nothing can change what happened, but I hope I can make up for it.”
The addiction to drugs that Pittman spoke of was something Dr. Heather Henderson, a psychologist and counselor, addressed in her testimony yesterday morning as a factor that played into the nature of Pittman’s choices the night of the crime and prior to that night.
After being called to the stand by Pittman’s attorney, Bart Betteau, Henderson shared she had reviewed the case files and was able to identify that Pittman was diagnosed with a stimulant use disorder, a mood disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Betteau argued that because of Pittman’s trauma suffered as a child — on top of the three disorders Henderson mentioned — Pittman did not have an even starting line to a life that many others are privileged to have. He noted that poor decision making occurs due to these lifestyle circumstances.
Betteau argued this to state that, while he would honor the court’s sentencing, he would advise the completion of a substance abuse program for Pittman to decrease or remove jail time.
Prior to Pittman’s statement to the court, Grimsley’s father, Jesse James, shared a pre-written statement with the court. In the statement, he called for Pitt-man to receive life in prison for taking the life of his daughter. He believed that would be a “just sentence,” he said, and that it would end this chapter of time for him knowing Pittman was behind bars for life.
“You are not a man; you are a monster,” James said to Pittman from the stand. “You leave mayhem and destruction everywhere you go. I hope you receive the same life sentence that we all have to experience for a life without Chrissy. I beg the court to honor my request, because no one here today understands our pain.”
Pittman has currently served 495 days incarcerated, which will become credit toward his sentencing.
Pittman is also set to appear before a jury in Harrison Superior Court in October for other charges. That trial is in regard to 13 felony charges Pittman received in April 2020 for child sexual trafficking, rape, sexual misconduct with a minor and possession of child pornography.