He aided law enforcement in their efforts to crack some of the highest-profile murder cases in America, from the infamous slaying of child beauty-queen JonBenét Ramsey to a serial killer who terrorized the Phoenix area in the mid-aughts.
But in a tragic twist, the murder expert—forensic psychiatrist Steven Pitt, 59—became a murder victim on Thursday afternoon, when he was found “critically wounded” on a quiet walkway outside his solo practice near Scottsdale, authorities said. Witnesses reported hearing “a loud verbal argument,” then shots ringing out through the desert air.
On Monday, Pitt’s suspected killer—who’s now believed to be responsible for a total of six murders in the Scottsdale, Arizona, area since Thursday—fatally shot himself as officers closed in on his room at an Extended Stay America hotel.
Police identified the suspect on Monday evening as 56-year-old Dwight Lamon Jones, saying he was connected to at least four of the six victims through his acrimonious divorce proceedings, which began around 2009. “[He was] visiting them in an effort to right some wrongs,” said Scottsdale Police Commander Richard Slavin.
It remains unclear how he’s connected to the other two victims, who remain unidentified and were found dead inside a home over the weekend.
Pitt, a renowned psychiatrist, performed a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation of Jones during his divorce, said Slavin. Court records also showed that Pitt testified against Jones during the divorce proceedings—telling a court in September 2010 that Jones had anxiety and mood disorders, the Associated Press reported. It was outside Pitt’s office that police found Jones’ DNA on a shell casing that belonged to a weapon used at all of the murder scenes, according to Slavin.
On Friday afternoon—less than 24 hours after Pitt was found dead—two paralegals, 48-year-old Valeria Sharp and 49-year-old Laura Anderson, were shot and killed at a small family law office in Scottsdale. The women worked for a lawyer, Elizabeth Feldman, who represented Jones’ ex-wife, Connie, in their divorce, police said.
“He was visiting them with the intent, we believe, of killing Elizabeth Feldman,” Slavin said.
One of the paralegals managed to run outside, where she ran down the street before collapsing. The trail of blood she left behind led authorities to the other victim, who was found dead inside the law firm Burt, Feldman, Grenier.
“Laura has worked with us as family for more than 10 years. Her intellect, passion, and friendship has meant more to us than we can even begin to convey,” the law firm said in a statement. “Veleria was a treasured member of our work family. She brought joy, calmness, warmth, and compassion to all that she did.”
Just hours after their deaths, a fourth victim was found. This time it was a psychologist and counselor, 72-year-old Marshall Levine, whose body was discovered by his girlfriend in his office after midnight Saturday. He, too, had died of a gunshot wound.
But unlike the others, Levine played no direct role in Jones’ divorce. He was simply using office space that had been occupied by another psychiatrist who saw Jones’ son as part of the divorce proceedings.
Police said Jones had been arrested on domestic violence charges related to his wife and son in 2008. Authorities confirmed that Jones had made YouTube videos before allegedly carrying out his killing spree. In what appears to be one of those videos, which has since been taken down, Jones rants about his wife and their divorce, at one point mentioning Pitt by name.
“The exam was a four-hour interview—his name was Dr. Steven Pitt. I call him Steven Shit cause he’s full of shit,” he says. “He knew Connie lied because he did a two-hour interview with her.”
Authorities on Monday evening said Jones had “intended on harming many”—insisting that others would have been killed had he not been confronted by law enforcement.
“As a medical professional and a citizen, I am deeply saddened by the tragedy caused by my ex-husband,” Connie Jones said in a statement. “He was a very emotionally disturbed person, as the court records will confirm. Personally, I have feared for my safety for the past nine years. I cannot express the emotions I feel for the innocent families touched by this senseless violence.”
—With Elisha Brown