The date is the 28 November 2001. The peaceful rural city of Chester, South Carolina wakes up to the most dreadful news. The house of one of their oldest residents has burnt to the ground. Earlier that morning, at about 01:40, a.m. Firefighters rushed to the scene of the incident and worked tirelessly to put out the fire.
They believed at the time that the house was empty, but when the flames eventually subsided, what they found shook them to the core. They found the bodies of 66-year-old Joe Pitman and his 62-year-old wife, Joy Pitman. But it wasn’t the fire that got to them and it wasn’t the smoke. Someone diabolical had shot this old couple to death right before setting their house on fire. The Pitmans had been loving and responsible members of the Chester community for several decades, and their twelve-year-old grandson, Christopher Frank Pittman, was also staying with them.
But where was he? The twelve-year-old’s body wasn’t in the burnt building, which was a relief. Had he been kidnapped? This was one of many questions that the police had to answer when they arrived at the crime scene. Christopher Frank Pittman was missing and to make matters worse, his grandparent’s Nissan Pathfinder was also nowhere to be seen.
Someone had taken it. Was this another case of premeditated murder, arson, and kidnapping? Could it be that the perpetrator of this horrible crime had killed the grandparents, kidnapped the twelve-year-old grandson, burnt the house to the ground, and made away with the truck? To the dismay of the cops, the case was getting complicated quickly and at the same time, it was quickly becoming a mystery. However, nothing would prepare them for the truth.
This was a case so bizarre that by the time we are done, you might be left with more questions than answers. Welcome or welcome back to Twisted Minds. I’m James and today we are going to deep dive into the tragic and undeniably divisive case of Christopher Frank Hitman.
To properly understand this case and the senseless murder of Joe Enjoy Pitman. We have to go back to 9 April 1989, the date of birth of Christopher Frank Pitman. Joe Enjoys their grandson. He was born in Florida to a dysfunctional couple. While his mother was negligent, irresponsible, and absent from his life, his father, whose name was also Joe, was going through a rapid series of bad relationships.
It was also reported that Chris’s father was violent to him when he was a kid, but we will address that as we move forward with the story. Christopher had an older sister, Danielle, and together they had to endure the chaos of their childhood. However, when things got unbearable for Chris, his grandparents had to step in. Joe Pitman was Chris’s paternal grandfather and everyone who knew him described him as a stern, opinionated man who was also a loving and supportive member of his community. He was a tough man who cared deeply about his faith, family, and music.
This was something he could express freely at the local Methodist Church in Chester, South Carolina. And he also had a soft spot for his grandson. So when he caught wind of the chaos the little boy was living through, he took him away from Florida And brought him to live with him and his wife in Chester, South Carolina. The change turned out to be the perfect cure for Chris. At first, it was clear to everyone how hurt the young boy was.
The Chester community would describe him as a well-mannered but extremely quiet boy. At the Methodist Church, members and even the chaplain noticed how reserved Christopher was and they did their best to make him feel at home. With time it worked, Christopher became more expressive, Fun-loving, and full of life. He adjusted perfectly and found the stability and nurturing environment that every child needs and deserves to have. However, you know how these stories go, It is often the calmest moments that precede the storm.
And in the case of Chris, his life was about to course-correct back towards the chaos of his past. One day, Chris’s father came to South Carolina for his son. His mother had returned and there was a promise of the family once again. So Chris returned to Florida with his father. Before we continue, I think it’s important to note that everything we have mentioned so far Happened to Christopher Pittman before he was twelve years old.
Not too long after Chris returned to Florida, his mother disappeared once again. He woke up one morning to find that his mother had left without warning. Around this time, his father was also going through his third divorce and the pressure became so much that one day, a twelve-year-old Chris decided to run away. He wanted to be with his grandparents again. He wanted the security and stability he once got from them.
But he didn’t get that far. The police found him 15 miles from home and brought him back to his father at home. Chris began to get dinner.
Desperate. He was no longer interested in staying in Florida with either his father or his older sister, Danielle. He threw tantrums, and those tantrums soon turned into depressive episodes. Then one day, things escalated too far when he grabbed a knife and threatened to kill himself in front of Danielle. According to her, he said, you know, I’d rather die than live in this house with you and dad.
It was this suicidal threat that convinced his father to return him to his grandparents. But it might have been a little too late. Chris had already changed. The community that had once nurtured him into a fun-loving and expressive kid no longer recognized him. Worse still, he had also developed a foul temper.
He was getting into fights with anyone and everyone with classmates. He had an episode where he choked a fellow student on the school bus in Church. Things got to a boiling point on the evening of November 28 when Chris started kicking the back of the piano bench, disturbing the pianist and the entire service Unsurprisingly. His grandparents were outraged, especially his grandfather, Joe.
Chris and his grandparents had to leave Church early that day, and when they got home, Chris got a spanking from Joe for his bad behavior. Later that night, the Pitmen both Joe and Joy were found with bullet holes in their heads, their house on fire, and twelve-year-old Chris Pitman, their grandson, was missing. Now that we have come full circle, I want us to pay close attention to the story because this is where things begin to get bizarre. House on fire. Check.
Someone calls the fire department. Check. The next morning, the police arrive on the scene. Back in Florida, Chris’s father gets a call that his parent’s house is on fire, and he immediately travels down to Chester, South Carolina, only to find out that not only were his parents killed in cold blood, but his son was also missing. By that time, the search for his son was already underway, and it wasn’t long before he was found.
Christopher Frank Pittman was found in his grandparent’s truck by two deer hunters in the woods some miles away from his grandparent’s burnt home. The truck had broken down, and Chris told them that he had been kidnapped by a big black man who had shot his grandparents, burnt their house, and kidnapped him. The deer hunters were inclined to believe him, but something was off. The twelve-year-old boy was eerily calm. He wasn’t behaving like a child who had just gone through that kind of trauma for a boy as young as him.
They expected him to be terrified. When the police came around, he repeated the story to them, and it was so detailed that they believed him. However, they also noticed that he was unnaturally calm, and this led them to believe that he was suffering from shock. So he was handed over to a Sheriff’s investigator named Lucinda McKeller who had experience working with children. Chris stayed with Lucinda throughout that afternoon.
She also noticed and was impressed by how calm he was and how well he was handling the situation. Throughout the afternoon with her, he played cards and watched TV with her. However, as the sunset onto the horizon, the truth began to come to light. The arson investigator on the case, Scott William, arrived that evening and questioned Chris extensively. And it turned out that Chris had been lying all along about the kidnapping, about the big black man and virtually everything.
It turned out that twelve-year-old Chris, armed with a shotgun, had crept into his grandparent’s room 4 hours after his grandfather had given him a spanking for his outburst. Chris had shot them four times while they were sleeping, killing them instantly. It was him who had set the house on fire. He took the truck guns, the family dog, and $33 in cash. The twelve-year-old had just confessed to premeditated murder, theft, and arson.
It was difficult to believe it. And what made the situation worse was the fact that Christopher Pittman felt no remorse. To be sitting in a room with a twelve-year-old boy that just killed his grandparents is one thing. And then to hear him say I’m not sorry for what he had done to the people that he supposedly loved the most in his life Was pretty shocking. My God, this is a twelve-year-old and you don’t want to believe it, but that’s what he was telling us.
Now, why on Earth would a twelve-year-old murder his grandparents that he loved? Somehow, Chris’father felt that he had an answer to that question. According to him, the culprit was not his son. The true culprit was Zoloft. Yes, Zoloft an antidepressant.
And if you’re wondering what an antidepressant has to do with a twelve-year-old Killing his grandparents in cold blood, Then you’re asking the right question Because this is where we’ve.