Court denies Pittman's request to stay in juvenile facility; teen asks governor to stop transfer

The S.C. Supreme Court has denied Christopher Pittman's motion asking that his transfer to an adult prison be delayed, according to Pittman's lead attorney.

That means Pittman, 17, could be moved to adult prison on Thursday, and the teen asked Gov. Mark Sanford today to stop his transfer to an adult prison, his attorneys said.

Attorneys for Christopher Pittman, now 17, said the governor has the power to keep Pittman in a juvenile facility. He is scheduled to be moved Thursday.

"It only takes the stroke of the pen," Pittman's attorneys wrote to the governor in a letter provided to the Associated Press. "We implore you to consider it."

Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer said the governor's office was checking to see if it had received the request.

"Pittman was sentenced to 30 years in prison last year for killing his grandparents in rural Chester County when he was 12 years old.

His lawyers were hoping to delay his transfer to 30 days after the Supreme Court issues its ruling on a recent appeal. On Thursday, Pittman attorney Andy Vickery asked the state’s highest court to overturn Pittman’s conviction for the 2001 slayings, saying he shouldn’t have been tried as an adult.

The court has not issued its decision on the appeal, which was opposed by prosecutors.

Pittman originally was scheduled to be transferred to adult prison on his 17th birthday, but good behavior got him a reprieve to stay in juvenile detention for up to six months or until the court heard his appeal.Pittman is serving a 30-year sentence for killing Joy Roberts Pittman and Joe Frank Pittman and setting their rural Chester County home on fire. On Monday, Pittman’s maternal grandmother, Delnora Duprey, was encouraged by the motion.

During Pittman’s 2005 trial, Vickery argued that use of antidepressants caused his client to kill his grandparents. Pittman had taken Zoloft and Paxil five weeks before the killings. Prosecutors said Pittman was angry because his grandparents disciplined him and plotted the killings.The case attracted national attention and sparked a debate about treatment of juveniles in courts because of the antidepressant defense and Pittman’s young age when he killed his grandparents.

Pittman would have faced less time in jail had he been tried in Family Court, where he could only be held until his 21st birthday. Pittman, who is not eligible for parole, could be released from prison two months before he turns 43.