Shock after Tennessee ministry student's murder charges

Associated Press • Feb 17, 2014 at 5:35 PM

JACKSON — Friends of a Christian ministry student and the fiancee he is accused of murdering are stunned by allegations that the youth pastor killed the young woman and staged it as a suicide.

Charlie Pittman, a senior at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., has been charged with first-degree murder and is being held without bail. Police say the 21-year-old Christian ministry major shot and killed Olivia Greenlee on Tuesday night and tried to make it look like a suicide. The body of the music education major was discovered inside a vehicle parked on the university campus Wednesday morning. Union University is a private Christian liberal arts school with about 4,200 students.

The Jackson Sun is reporting that she was killed by a gun belonging to one of her friends. The friend, however, did not know that the gun was taken, police were quoted by the newspaper as saying.

Jackson Police Capt. Tyreece Miller said the state of the crime scene left questions about whether her death should be ruled a suicide.

"While investigating her background, we didn't find any information that led us to believe she had suicidal tendencies," Miller said.

Pittman has been described as a devout student and a leader. Those who knew him could not believe that the Christian ministry major, former Union Life Group leader and youth minister could be capable of killing anyone.

Pittman is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Jackson City Court. It's not clear whether he has an attorney. The Associated Press called the Madison County Sheriff's office, but officials there said jail records did not give the name of a lawyer. A call to the Jackson City Court was unanswered Monday because the office was closed for Presidents Day.

Pittman had never been arrested previously, police told the Jackson Sun. He has been suspended from Union and suspended as youth pastor of Providence Baptist Church.

Police have not said what they believe is the motive for the shooting.

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