Mar 20, 2016

How did the Tyler Ave double murder happen?

Authorities, experts share theories of the crime

When local attorney Robert Pruitt hired an exterminator, he probably never suspected that the company owners, Wayne and Ned Fisher, meant to commit a burglary that would ultimately lead to Pruitt's death.

"You see it all the time," says veteran police observer James Woodrow. "If a crime wasn't committed by a loved one or close business associate, it can probably be laid at the door of someone on the periphery."

Local psychologist James Raymond added, "The people whom we treat as if they are invisible often begin to feel that way. They not only resent the situation but often come to see their invisibility as a secret power, as it were."

Whatever the theories, the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department and District Attorney say they have little doubt as to what transpired on the evening of February 19, 2016.

What do authorities believe happened?

Investigators allege that Ned Fisher, 30, and his father, Wayne Fisher, 57, used their pest control business as a means to scout potential burglary targets.

Believing that Robert and Vanessa Pruitt were away that weekend, the Fishers entered the Pruitts' home with the intention of stealing any items of value.

But the father-and-son burglary team was only half-right.

Vanessa Pruitt had gone out of town, but her husband stayed home — a last-minute decision that would prove fateful and fatal.

According to the sheriff's department, Robert Pruitt was brandishing a gun when he surprised the thieves as they were gathering the entertainment electronics they planned to take.

Ned Fisher, under arrest for the two murders
Ned Fisher, under arrest for the two murders
With Wayne Fisher dead and Ned Fisher exercising his right to remain silent, exactly what happened next is unknown, but it resulted in Pruitt shooting and killing Wayne Fisher.

Ned Fisher then allegedly fatally shot his father's killer before fleeing the scene in the Fisher Pest Control van.

The bodies remained undiscovered until the following afternoon, when Pruitt's wife, Vanessa, returned from an out-of-town trip.

"I'm not sure I'll ever be comfortable allowing strangers into my home again," says Vanessa Pruitt, now widowed for the second time. "There's a basic level of trust that I think I've lost."

Not an isolated crime?

Sources close to the sheriff's department say the father-and-son Fisher team may have been responsible for several unsolved burglaries in Yoknapatawpha County.

According to YCSD Public Information Officer Elizabeth Jones, Ned Fisher has only been charged with any crimes directly related to the Pruitt-Fisher homicides. However, Jones would not rule out the possibility that Fisher may face additional charges in the future.

Ned Fisher's attorney, Robert Hawkins, said, "My client's father was a victim of this tragic double killing, and now my client is a victim as well."

Hawkins added that Fisher is not responsible for the homicides or for any other crimes, vowing "if the District Attorney does not see the error of his ways and drop all charges against my client, we will prove Ned Fisher's innocence at trial."
 

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