At a information convention on Wednesday, Hamilton County District Attorney General Neal Pinkston mentioned that on the time of his dying, Pettyjohn was a part of a federal probe into a pardon and parole scheme involving Blanton.
Pinkston mentioned the governor’s workplace organized for inmates to be launched early from their sentences in change for money.
Pettyjohn was concerned within the operation, Pinkston mentioned, however he cooperated with the FBI on a variety of events and testified that Blanton was conscious of the scheme.
Pinkston mentioned that by way of their investigative work, they recognized Pettyjohn’s killer as William Edward Alley, a “notorious bank robber” who died in federal custody in 2005.
NCS was not ready to attain Alley’s members of the family for remark.
According to Pinkston, Alley was employed to kill Pettyjohn and a portion of the contract was paid for by a third celebration on behalf of the previous governor’s workplace.
“There is no question this was a contract murder,” Pinkston mentioned.
On Tuesday, a Hamilton County grand jury voted that if Alley was nonetheless alive there was sufficient proof to indict him on first-degree premeditated murder in Pettyjohn’s dying.
“This confirmation by the grand jury of the investigative findings means the cold case murder of Pettyjohn is officially closed,” Pinkston mentioned. “Our Cold Case Unit put in countless hours to solve this unusual case. Hopefully, it will bring some closure and peace to Pettyjohn’s surviving family members.”
He died in 1996 and NCS was unable to attain his members of the family for touch upon the case.
Blanton was by no means indicted within the pardons and parole scheme, in accordance to the information launch, however members of his administration have been, alongside with William Aubrey Thompson, a native county Democratic boss for Blanton’s election marketing campaign, who was later convicted.
Ties to Jimmy Hoffa
According to case particulars in a information launch from the DA, Pettyjohn was a businessman and had owned a number of shops and nightclubs within the Chattanooga space. He maintained robust ties with the Teamsters union and was a private buddy of James Riddle Hoffa Sr., also called Jimmy Hoffa, in accordance to the information launch.
At the time of his murder, Pettyjohn had money and jewellery on him that was valued at $100,000. The objects weren’t taken from the Beverage Center enterprise, which Pettyjohn owned, the place he was shot to dying. When police arrived, they discovered an attaché case that Pettyjohn owned that contained a recording system with a number of recordings inside.
“That attaché case, the recording device and the recordings were removed from the crime scene and have never been located,” the information launch mentioned. “Some witnesses indicate that there were at least 40-50 total recordings.”
Two witnesses within the car parking zone of the Beverage Center on the time of the capturing described the suspect to police “as a heavy-set African American male with a beard and glasses.” The suspect was sporting a trench coat, in accordance to the discharge, and fired one to two pictures into the air earlier than fleeing the scene.
Police arrested two suspects in 1982 and charged them with Pettyjohn’s murder, however these expenses have been dismissed as a result of each males had alibis.
The case remained unsolved and in 2015 when the cold case unit started a evaluation and investigation of all occasions surrounding the murder of Pettyjohn, in accordance to the information launch.
During the investigation, officers interviewed a number of cooperating people who mentioned Alley admitted being paid between $25,000 and $50,000 for murdering Pettyjohn, the discharge mentioned.
They mentioned Alley, who was White, wore face paint, a false beard and glasses to cover his identification, in accordance to the discharge.
“Pettyjohn knew too much about illegal activities and his cooperation with federal authorities placed other individuals’ freedom, including that of Governor Ray Blanton, at severe risk,” the information launch mentioned.
One of Pettyjohn’s sons, Saadiq, attended the district legal professional’s information convention with his spouse, sister and two daughters, and spoke on behalf of his 92-year-old mom and your entire household, in accordance to the information launch.
“It is a curse and a blessing to grow up in a family that is connected to crime,” mentioned Saadiq Pettyjohn within the information launch. “When that person dies, you can either go that route, or you can go a different route, and all of us chose to go a better route with education and try to do better in our lives.”
He additionally thanked Pinkston and everybody concerned in fixing his father’s murder.