Four people were murdered in Arizona last week, including famed forensic psychiatrist Steven Pitt. Authorities investigating the deaths believe three of the murders are connected, and that the death of a fourth person may also be related. So, who was Pitt and why might he have been targeted by a murderer? Our Steven Pitt wiki aims to offer some insight into this tragedy.
Steven Pitt Wiki: A Life Dedicated to Justice
Dr. Steven E. Pitt made a name for himself as a trusted professional in the American psychiatry industry. He assisted in numerous high-profile cases, including that of the murder of six-year-old beauty pageant queen JonBenét Ramsey. During his adult life, he exercised his many areas of professional expertise, conducting important evaluations, and sharing his knowledge with others.
However, on May 31, 2018, he was shot and murdered as he was leaving his office building around 5:30 p.m.
Born March 12, 1959 to Dorothy Pitt and Mack Pitt, Steven Pitt was raised in Southfield, Michigan. Dorothy was a homemaker and Mack was a school administrator who once played first saxophone for the Artie Shaw big band.
He had one brother, Darryl Pitt, who later moved to live in New York City.
Always a fan of mysteries and crime thrillers, he grew up reading The Hardy Boys, and later watched Columbo and Ironside.
By his own admission, Pitt was “increasingly drawn to the study of the criminal mind,” and was attuned to human behavior.
For example, while later aiding in the case of JonBenét Ramsey’s murder, he questioned the victim’s mother, Patsy Ramsey. While speaking to her, he noted that she was a “seasoned performer” who had a way with words, but had “marked inconsistencies” with regards to details of the case. Despite his comments, with the case remaining open, he did not speak on his speculation as to who he believed murdered JonBenét Ramsey. Perhaps his contributions will eventually help solve that cold case.
Education & Career
Pitt graduated from Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his residency training in psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical Center. He also completed his fellowship in forensic psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
The graduate went on to be the clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix.
Using his background in psychiatry, Dr. Pitt dedicated his career to helping people and to the pursuit of justice. As a forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Pitt had many areas of professional expertise including: Mental state at the time of the offense, competency to stand trial, serial rape, sexual harassment, psychic harm, testamentary capacity, wrongful termination, murder for hire, psychiatric autopsy, impaired professionals, domestic homicide, violence risk assessment, psychiatric malpractice, fire setting and arson, officer involved shootings, suicide and self-harm, school violence, employment discrimination, sexual homicide, interviewing, stalking, spree murder, infanticide, and mass murder.
Aside from his active and successful psychiatric practice and teaching role, Dr. Pitt co-authored several journal articles and book chapters. His work appeared in or on numerous print and broadcast media, including CNN, FOX, ABC News/Primetime, The Los Angeles Times, New York Daily News, Entertainment Tonight, Discovery Channel, and more.
For his work in high-profile forensic psychiatric evaluations, Dr. Pitt gained a national reputation.
He worked with the Phoenix Police Department Homicide and Missing Persons Units. He also performed evaluations, testified, and consulted on related topics and several criminal cases with worldwide visibility.
Some of Dr. Pitt’s most famous career moves include the following:
- Consulting for the Boulder District Attorney’s Office and Boulder Police Department in the homicide investigation of JonBenét Ramsey
- Serving as an advisor to the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office regarding the Columbine High School tragedy, and Director of the Columbine Psychiatric Autopsy Project
- Serving as a consulting expert to the Eagle County (Colo.) District Attorney’s Office in People v. Kobe Bean Bryant
- Serving as an expert witness for the U.S. government in S. v. Alfonso Rodriquez, Jr. and U.S. v. Iouri Mikhel
- Serving as a member of the Phoenix Police Department’s “Baseline Killer” task force
- Serving as an expert for Plaintiff’s counsel in Andrea McNulty v. Ben Roethlisberger
Steven Pitt’s Family
Divorced from his first wife, Steven Pitt was engaged to Natalie Collins at the time of his death.
He leaves behind two sons: Beau and Asa Pitt, both of whom live in California.
— Mike Pelton (@MikePeltonABC15) June 4, 2018
Asa seems to have been inspired by his father’s career. He got his B.A. in psychology from the University of Arizona and is currently attending the School of Law at Chapman University. Asa just completed a stint as a legal intern with Universal Pictures.
Beau graduated from Chaparral High School in 2013. He played varsity football and did track & field while at school. It’s not publicly known what he did after graduation.
Facts about Steven Pitt’s Murder
Forensic psychiatrist Steven Pitt, 59, was found dead from fatal gunshot wounds on Thursday, May 31. The shooting happened outside his office in Scottsdale (Greater Phoenix Area), Arizona.
Investigators are unsure of the motive, but believe the killing may have been personal. Eye witnesses heard a verbal argument between Pitt and the suspect before the sound of gunfire broke out.
The other two identified victims are 48-year-old Veleria Sharp and 49-year-old Laura Anderson. Both paralegals at a Scottsdale law firm, they were killed on Friday afternoon. Marshall Levine, 72, was found dead Saturday in his office at a mental health counseling facility in Scottsdale.
Although the shootings appeared to be connected due to correlating evidence from the crime scenes, officers did not have any information that would indicate a serial killer is responsible. Eye witness reports provided enough information to create a sketch of the suspect, but police were unable to identify him right away.
Murder Suspect Identified
A retired detective discovered a connection between the murders, and was able to help authorities locate a suspect.
The body of the suspect, Dwight Lamon Jones, 56, was found in a hotel room early Monday, June 4. A shot was heard moments before police went inside.
In 2009, the suspect and his then-wife, Connie Jones, began divorce proceedings. Both Sharp and Anderson worked at the law office hired by Connie Jones. Elizabeth Feldman, the attorney who represented the suspect’s ex-wife, was not in the office on Friday, but police believe she was the initial target.
Authorities also allege that Marshall Levine, who also worked in the office, was mistaken for a counselor who saw Jones’ son at the time of their divorce.
Steven Pitt is the only victim who is confirmed to have had a direct connection to Dwight Jones, as he testified against the suspect in court. Pitt was hired by Connie Jones to perform a risk assessment on her then-husband. In a now-deleted YouTube video, Dwight Jones claimed that Connie thought him to be “a threat to her and my child.”
There were several other videos on the since deactivated channel, most of which contained accusations against his ex-wife and her attorney “of spreading lies.” Dwight Jones was arrested for domestic violence charges shortly before his then-wife filed for divorce. The retired detective who led police to the suspect is Connie Jones’ current husband.
Memorial Service Focused on His Vibrant Life
On June 4, 2018, Asa spoke at Pitt’s memorial, choking back tears as he spoke of his father’s character. “We can all agree that my dad was an incredible man… and someone we feel lucky to have known. You might have known my dad as a professional, a friend, or a family member… He was smart, funny, compassionate and a tremendous worker… My father’s outlook on life: it was simple, and he said it to my brother and I every time he’d drop us off at school. He’s say, ‘Try your hardest, don’t say you can’ t, be nice, and have fun.’”
Their Rabbi, Harold Loss, flew in from Pitt’s home state of Michigan to preside over the service and said, “A community is shaken, a family has lost more than words can describe.”
The ceremony (which saw the attendance of hundreds of people) focused on Pitt’s life rather than his tragic death, and people described him as generous, hard-working, wise, and meticulous.
Pitt’s brother Darryl and close friends, Phoenix Police Lt. Bryan Chapman and Gus Esposito, also spoke at the memorial, sharing their sympathies and expressing qualities they enjoyed about him.
Family, friends, and colleagues took to Twitter to share their shock and sadness at his death, and shared what they appreciated and would miss about him:
“I am shocked and crushed to learn of the apparent murder of my friend Steven Pitt. Steven was a thoroughly wonderful guy who was endlessly curious and interested in a wide variety of things. Nobody was more fun to talk to. It would be impossible to find a better person anywhere,” wrote one friend.
I am shocked and crushed to learn of the apparent murder of my friend Steven Pitt. Steven was a thoroughly wonderful guy who was endlessly curious and interested in a wide variety of things. Nobody was more fun to talk to. It would be impossible to find a better person anywhere. https://t.co/Q34H4JCWaL
— Dan Barr (@DanCBarr) June 1, 2018
“Dr. Steven Pitt was a colleague and a good person. He will be missed. May his loved ones and colleagues find comfort during this difficult time,” wrote another.
Dr. Steven Pitt was a colleague and a good person. He will be missed. May his loved ones and colleagues find comfort during this difficult time.
— Cheryl Wills, MD, DFAPA (@CWills4APABOT) June 1, 2018
“Being in the news for so long, you cover many, many homicides…today it is with a heavy heart to hear that a very good friend of was murdered. Steven Pitt was a dear friend to so many of us…”
Being in the news for so long, you cover many, many homicides…today it is with a heavy heart to hear that a very good friend of was murdered. Steven Pitt was a dear friend to so many of us when I… https://t.co/bfYC3fHDYz
— Chera Kimiko (@CheraKimiko) June 1, 2018