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News Autopsy reveals details in Pruitt murder

While toxicology reports are still pending in the case of James Robert Pruitt—the deceased victim of a July 8 shooting in Otto—details from an autopsy report released by the state Chief Medical Examiner’s Office, reveal that he did, in fact, die by a single gunshot wound.

The report, released on July 23, determined that Pruitt died from a gunshot wound to his left leg, and that there was evidence of hypertensive type cardiovascular disease. According to Dr. Lawrence Selby, who performed the autopsy at Harris Regional Hospital on July 9, Pruitt was shot in the upper left thigh by a .22 caliber handgun while walking up steps. The bullet traveled “through the region of the femoral artery,” read the report, which added that “copious blood is present through and about this wound. No projectiles are recovered.”

Selby concluded that it was his opinion Pruitt died of a gunshot wound to the leg.

On July 8, Robert Pruitt, 34, was shot at a residence on Coweeta Lab Road. His parents, Frank Kelly Pruitt, 62, and Kathy Paulette Pruitt, 53, have been charged with their son’s murder. Both face numerous charges, including first degree murder.

Assistant District Attorney declared on Aug. 6 that he would not seek the death penalty for Kathy during a session of Superior Court. It has not been confirmed however whether her husband Frank will face the same sentence if convicted. The husband has yet to have his Rule 24 murder hearing, as his former attorney Ryan Seago withdrew from the case due to health issues. Asheville-based David Belser was appointed Pruitt’s new attorney.

In his 9-1-1 call to authorities, Frank Pruitt indicated that his son was “drunk” and that he was going to “shoot” Robert at the couple’s home on Coweeta Lab Road. Robert’s wife and children were present during the shooting, according to authorities.

Frank Pruitt has been charged with additional offenses of assault by pointing a gun, assault inflicting serious injury and assault with a deadly weapon with a minor present. These charges carry an additional $50,000 secured bond. Pruitt remains in custody in Raleigh and is expected to appear in court again on Sept. 24.


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