published Saturday, June 16th, 2012

Two arrested in 2010 Hixson slaying

Ronald Lee Pittman, 42, and Billy Bob Partin, 39, are charged in connection with the death of Chance LeCroy.
Ronald Lee Pittman, 42, and Billy Bob Partin, 39, are charged in connection with the death of Chance LeCroy.
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

For nearly two years, Chance LeCroy's family was tortured by questions.

After the 21-year-old was shot to death in his Hixson home on Sept. 9, 2010, they spent their time calling detectives, posting flyers, taking out ads and writing congressmen -- all pleading for help finding out who killed him and why.

Now two arrests have given them a moment to exhale.

"We can't believe it," LeCroy's aunt, Terri Grizzard, said Friday morning through tears. "We are so relieved."

Billy Bob Partin, 39, and Ronald Lee Pittman, 42, were arrested Friday. According to a police report, Pittman admitted to police that he and Partin were trying to rob LeCroy at his at 1211 Johnston Terrace home when "things went wrong."

Partin has been charged with felony murder and especially aggravated robbery, Chattanooga police spokesman Nathan Hartwig said. Pittman has been charged with facilitation of felony murder and facilitation of especially aggravated robbery. Pittman is at the Hamilton County Jail on a $1.5 million bond and Partin has a $2 million bond.

Pittman told investigators he and Partin knew there was "dope and flat-screen TVs" at the home, according to the report.

"Mr. Pittman said that he and Billy Bob went to the house to take dope and anything valuable but things went wrong and Chance LeCroy was shot," the arrest report states.

LeCroy's roommate, Tucker King, told police that he was sleeping on a couch when he was awakened by the sound of a gunshot. King said an armed man wearing sunglasses and a bandanna pointed a gun at him before the gunman and another man rushed out of the house.

King discovered his roommate's body, with gunshot wounds in the back and left shoulder.

At the time of his arrest, Partin was living in a Chattanooga halfway house, serving a federal sentence for violating his supervised release from a previous felony weapons charge, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

"If he is being charged in connection with a homicide, the designation of that halfway house will need to be re-evaluated," said Chris Burke, spokesman for the Bureau of Prisons.

Investigators are not ready to say how they tracked Pittman and Partin down, Hartwig said.

The arrest report states that several people had said Pittman and Partin were involved in LeCroy's killing.

Partin's criminal record includes the 2003 arrest for being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was sentenced to six years in federal prison with three years of supervised release.

He was arrested again in November 2010 -- two months after LeCroy's death -- for violating his supervised release by possessing firearms and ammunition and testing positive for methamphetamine, records show.

Partin also faced charges in Marion County in 2003 for aggravated assault, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a controlled substance. Those charges were dismissed because Partin was in federal custody at the time.

It was unclear Friday where his original felony charges originated.

Pittman, who is from South Pittsburg, Tenn., developed a criminal record in Hamilton County after LeCroy's death.

In April, Pittman pleaded guilty to theft over $1,000 from an incident in November 2011, according to Hamilton County Criminal Court records. He was given pretrial judicial diversion rather than a one-year jail sentence.

Pittman is scheduled to appear before General Sessions Judge Ronald Durby on June 25. As of Friday, Partin did not have a court date set.

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