TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The mere mention of murder might be what landed two Mountain View High School students in the Pima County jail.
Sheriff's detectives arrested and charged 17 year-old Kevin Pettitt and Wyatt Bowman with conspiracy to commit murder based on evidence that the two were planning to kill an 18-year-old woman who is the mother of Pettitt's one-year-old child.
Pima County Sheriff deputies arrested Kevin Pettitt at home Friday. Both he and Wyatt Bowman are Mountain View High School students, and Marana Unified School District confirmed that detectives arrived at the school Friday to question Bowman before taking him away for further questioning. He was later arrested.
The school is sending a letter to parents about the arrest of its two students and to emphasize that these events have nothing to do with the school.
The sheriff's department said that this is an ongoing investigation and that Pettitt and Bowman began discussing the murder at Christmas.
Custody issues between Pettitt and his ex-girlfriend over their child, as well as money matters, have been the source of friction between the two. The sheriff's department said that Pettitt and Bowman planned to lure the woman to the desert, to shoot her, to remove her teeth, and to burn her so that she could not be identified. It also said that Pettitt offered to pay Bowman for his assistance.
Just how much Bowman would be paid, whether they had a weapon yet, and what proof exists that this conversation was taking place have not been released. The department said that a third party found out about the plan, told the ex-girlfriend, and she reported it Wednesday.
Conspiracy to commit murder is a felony charge that has brought a life sentence upon conviction in other cases.
"In this case, we were lucky. We were able to stop it before anything could happen. I mean, they had a plan, they were talking about luring her out into the desert, shooting her, removing her teeth and then setting her on fire. We have to take that very seriously and we have to put a stop to it before something can happen. Luckily, in this case, we were able to do that," said Pima County Sheriff Deputy Tracy Suitt.
Suitt added that Pima County Victims' Services Division helped the woman file an order of protection and took her home, which freed detectives to spend more time on investigation.