Man sought in Wilcox double homicide

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 5, 2003

Law enforcement agents are currently searching for a Wilcox County man wanted for questioning in an apparent double homicide.

Johnnie Lee Pettway, 37, a black male 6 feet 3 and weighing 245 pounds, is sought in connection with the deaths of Jessie and Barbara Fisher, of Catherine.

According to the Wilcox County Sheriff’s Department, Jessie, 53, and Barbara, 51, were found in their home in Wilcox County around 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

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Neighbors discovered the bodies after seeing smoke escaping from their mobile home.

Evidence of trauma to both victims’ heads was found, according to the Sheriff’s Department. Authorities believe the fire may have been started intentionally.

Several law enforcement agencies are currently searching for Pettway, including the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, the Alabama Fire Marshall’s Office, the Wilcox County Sheriff’s Department and the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department.

Chief Deputy Randy Pugh, with the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, said his department was working with the ABI. &uot;They’ve got a chopper down there right now,&uot; Pugh said. &uot;They’ve had sightings. I think this last sighting was a good one.&uot;

This incident is not Pettway’s first brush with the law. According to Greene, Pettway was tried for murder several years ago, but found not guilty after problems surfaced with identity issues and fingerprints not matching.

Greene said Pettway was convicted of manslaughter in August 1986.

He received a 10-year sentence. According to testimony in that case, the victim was involved in a fight with Pettway. Greene said Pettway tried to dispose of the body by leaving it in the woods.

Anyone coming into contact with Pettway should contact the Wilcox County Sheriff’s Department at 334-682-4715 or 334-682-9115.

Pettway is considered armed and dangerous.