Mar 17, 2016

Suspect arrested in double homicide

Investigators not yet commenting on the how or why of what happened

A pest control worker was arrested this morning in the shootings of Oxford defense attorney Robert Pruitt, 38, and exterminator Wayne Fisher, 56, in a fatal encounter February 19.

Ned Fisher, 30, was taken into custody at his residence without incident, investigators say.

Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department officials say Ned Fisher is facing murder charges in connection with the deaths of his father, Wayne Fisher, and Robert Pruitt as well as other charges related to the incident.

Public Information Officer Elizabeth Jones declined to provide specifics of what investigators believe happened that night or whether anyone else was involved, saying additional information will be released at a later date.

A mystery from the start

On February 20, Robert Pruitt's wife, Vanessa, returned from an out-of-town trip and discovered the two men dead in the basement rec room of the Pruitt home.

Wayne Fisher was not immediately identified at the scene of the crime, and initially investigators struggled to find a connection between the two men.

Several former clients of attorney Pruitt confirmed that they were questioned closely about the killings.

"It was like the Keystone Kops," said Jackie Woodruff, who Pruitt unsuccessfully defended in a 2014 assault case. "You could tell they were fishing for anything and everything. I hated Rob Pruitt, don't get me wrong — but I'm not dumb enough to go back to jail."

Jones declined to comment on whether investigators blundered in their pursuit of leads.

Forensic evidence played a key role in the case, according to Jones, both in identifying Wayne Fisher and in determining that the men were shot with different weapons.

"Science doesn't lie," Jones said. "This was truly a team effort between our investigators in the field, our crime lab and the coroner's team."

The Fisher family reacts

Wayne Fisher's ex-wife, Christine Fisher, of Pontotoc, MS, was distraught and refused to comment on the case. But her son, Oxford resident Joel Fisher, said he hopes the arrest will bring closure to a tragic chapter in the family's history.

At times becoming emotional, Joel Fisher said that he had been estranged from brother Ned and father Wayne Fisher following his parents' acrimonious divorce nearly 20 years ago.

"This is a sad bookend to a painful situation," he said. "I only hope the best for my mom at this point."
 

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