VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — A Terre Haute woman’s killer will face up to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty Wednesday to voluntary manslaughter and burglary.
Kenneth Pitts Jr.’s plea was in reference to events related to the death of Alice “Anita” Oswald on November 9, 2017, prosecutors said.
“Our primary goal is to protect the community,” Vigo County Prosecutor Terry Modesitt said. “With the defendant’s age, he could be in prison until over 80 years of age with the time he faces under this agreement.”
Modesitt explained voluntary manslaughter is a killing committed while acting under sudden heat. After a lengthy investigation, the evidence in the case demonstrated that Pitts entered Oswald’s residence to burglarize the home.
Oswald, who was known to carry a firearm, returned to her home and found the defendant inside. At that time, Oswald fired a shot striking Pitts in the face. Pitts then struck Oswald in the head and face with a weapon at least two times, killing her.
“Under Indiana law the facts are consistent with voluntary manslaughter as his killing Anita may be interpreted by a jury as being in response to being shot in the face – sudden heat.”
Oswald’s body was later recovered from a lake, and Pitts was apprehended in Nevada.
“This was a challenging case with no eyewitnesses to the event and no forensic or DNA evidence identifying the perpetrator,” Modesitt said. “Witnesses were fearful to testify and attempted to hide to avoid having to testify. Although no direct evidence linking Pitts to the crime was found, through hundreds of hours of work from the Terre Haute Police Department enough circumstantial evidence was assembled to prosecute this case.”
Sentencing is set for Aug. 27.