Police capture alleged murderer

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 7, 2003

A Wilcox County man wanted in connection with an apparent double homicide is behind bars.

According to Fourth Judicial Circuit District Attorney Ed Greene, Johnnie Lee Pettway, 37, was apprehended by law enforcement authorities in the Catherine area Wednesday night.

Pettway was sought in connection with the deaths of Jessie and Barbara Fisher, of Catherine. Jessie, 53, and Barbara, 51, were found in their home in Wilcox County around 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

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Pettway is currently held in the Wilcox County Jail on a burglary charge.

Greene said authorities received information about Pettway’s whereabouts from a woman who saw him on some railroad tracks.

He added that authorities had just left the area, but returned after getting the call and set up a perimeter. Pettway was eventually located and chased back to a mobile home he had allegedly broken into, Greene noted, which led to the burglary charge.

Several area residents stayed with friends and relatives while authorities searched for Pettway, Greene said.

Pettway allegedly broke into the mobile home of a resident who wasn’t there at the time.

According to Greene, federal authorities have been contacted about the case because Pettway allegedly was seen with a gun sometime between Sunday and Wednesday.

Greene added that Pettway was a convicted felon and couldn’t legally possess a firearm.

The incident is not Pettway’s first brush with the law.

Greene said 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.

In 1999, Pettway was convicted of burglary, Greene said.

He had been entering churches and sleeping in them.

According to Greene, Pettway served a year in jail.