6 years ago, Christopher Pittman used a pump action shotgun to kill his grandparents, Joe and Joy Pittman, while they slept. After he finished killing his grandparents, he then torched their Chester County Home.
Pittman's trail was held four years later, and he was found guilty and sentenced to 30 years in prison. Christopher's lawyer had unsuccessfully defended him on the grounds that Christopher was high on Zoloft at the time.
Zoloft is a very strong anti-depressant that has carried the FDA's "black box" warning since 2004 which warns patients about possible side effects that include an increased risk of suicidal behavior in children.
Janet Sisk, director of the Juvenile Justice Foundation, describes Christopher has a shy, quiet and polite person.
Ms.Sisk spent this Easter weekend sitting across a table from Christopher at the maximum security prison in Columbia, SC were Christopher is being held. Janet also took the 100 mile trip from her home in Charlotte, NC to spend last Christmas Eve with Pittman.
Ms.Sisk is not the lone person who has spent time visiting Christopher. Over a half-dozen people make visits to Pittman because they are drawn to his case. One women has even flown from Michigan twice in the last year to spend time with Christopher. There are also hundreds of people who show their support in other ways such as promising to pay for college when he gets out of prison.
Ms.Sisk also sees Christopher now as more of a third son, and not the cold-blooded 12 year old killer that he was in 2001 when he killed his grandparents.
Pittman, who turns 18 on Monday, is now 6 feet 2 inches tall, but his supporters still see him as the quiet 12 year old that he was 6 years ago. Christoper was from from a juvenile facility to an adult prison 6 months ago, but he still does not consider himself an adult.
Teresa Strattard, the Michigan women who flew in to visit Pittman, says she felt a chord strike in her heart when she first saw pictures of the 12 year old Pittman on TV. Strattard has a son of her own, and she said that when she saw Christopher on TV it made her realize that maybe this could be her child, or anyone's child. This theme is a popular one that runs through the Pittman supporters camp.
Pittman supporters are hoping the South Carolina Supreme Court will overturn the conviction because of the outrage many people felt because Christopher was held in prison for fours years before he received a trial. Last October, many Pittman supporters met in Columbia to hear defense attorney Andy Vickery argue that his client's confession was influenced by Zoloft and his youth.
Christopher's mother has not been a part of his life for years, but Pittman's father, Joe, has traveled from Florida many times to visit his son. It was Joe's parents who were murdered by Christopher 6 years ago.
Barney Giese the prosecutor on this case declined to comment. However, Mr.Giese told the jury about the brutality of the murders and how Pittman told police that his grandparents "deserved it."
"I believe his grandparents would want us to give our love and compassion to their grandson and to fight for his freedom," Sisk said. "Those that really knew Joe and Joy Pittman and their kindness and love they had for their grandchildren, I'm sure, would agree."