Monday, February 8, 2010

Sunday School teacher stabbed to death outside of Wal-Mart - convicted sex offender suspect

A registered sex offender with a long criminal history in Arkansas was arrested outside his Oklahoma City trailer Saturday, February 6 and charged with the 1st degree murder of a 26 year old Sunday School teacher. Family members said that the victim, Nelly Pelts, made a habit of shopping lat at night inside the Del City Wal-Mart, all the while, witnessing and telling folks about her church, located next to the murder scene.

This habit turned tragic when Platts met James Allen O'Berry, 53, around 12:20 AM Saturday. The video shows O'Berry approaching Pelts and them leaving the store parking lot at 12:35 AM. According to O'Berry, they went outside of their cars then left with her. Next thing, according to O'Berry, he "blacked out" and at around 12:50 AM Saturday,  O'Berry stabbed the woman to death and struck her with his car. He was later found inside his Oklahoma City mobile home.

James Allen O'Berry, 53, was taken into custody late Saturday evening after surveillance video from the Del City Walmart was aired on several local television stations and two separate tipsters called with O'Berry's name and address.

When detectives and officers from Midwest City and Oklahoma City Police Department arrived at O'Berry's mobile home, 2401 SE 44th, Lot No. 50 in Oklahoma City, his 1997 Lincoln Towne car was parked outside.

The car matched the description given by the witness who saw the attack and also had damage to the left front and driver's side rear view mirror. Evidence gathered at the murder scene from the suspect's car was linked to O'Berry's Lincoln. The car also had blood inside.

Investigators recovered O'Berry's clothing which had been discarded and dumped in a trash bin near I-35 and SW 44th Street.

Search warrants have been conducted on O'Berry's home and car in which additional evidence has been recovered. O'Berry had changed his appearance by cutting his hair and also suffered a laceration to his left arm during the attack which required medical treatment prior to him being jailed.

Del City Police Chief  Brandon Clabes' statement is below.

  We are extremely grateful to Walmart for providing photos of our suspect, to the media for airing those almost instantaneously, and to our tipsters who called in which lead to O'Berry's identification .A tremendous amount of manpower was allocated to solve this brutal homicide, and everyone worked tirelessly for justice. You have a young, innocent woman who devotes her life to her faith and because of this, becomes targeted by a sexual predator and ultimately killed. Basically within a time span of twenty minutes, James O'Berry tracked his prey and viciously killed her.

Brian Bates, the "Video Vigilante" who prevents johns from picking up prostitutes on a particular stretch of Oklahoma City highway, said that O'Berry tried to assault him, and heard from people who knew the convict after posting the video online. "All of those emails came with a warning he's a very violent man," Bates said.

Bates said he filed a complaint with the police department. But in the meantime, he tried to prevent O'Berry from soliciting prostitutes.

"My only fear is since the police didn't act on my video and didn't charge this guy with some sort of probation violation, he was then allowed to perpetrate this murder," Bates said.

District Attorney David Prate said he's been in contact with Brian Bates about the complaint he filed at the police department. Prater said he's trying to find out what happened and if O'Berry's probation could have been revoked, which may have prevented the murder of Nelly Pelts.

The Midwest City police department is currently holding O'Berry on a 1st degree murder complaint and is questioning him to see if more crimes can be traced to him.

Besides this case, O'Berry is named as a suspect in two other Oklahoma City police cases. In one, a 26 year old women complained that she started to be stalked after O'Bery met her at her southeast Oklahoma City church. A second woman alleges that as a police impersonator, O'Berry pulled her over in her car and raped her.

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