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Decatur man denies firing warning shots over 'sexual fidelity issue'

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DECATUR — Tony J. Pettis, a Decatur man who is accused of delivering a warning by threatening to kill a male victim and shooting two bullets into the ground near the victim’s feet, told a judge he was innocent.

Pettis, 38, appeared in Macon County Circuit Court Wednesday with defense counsel Michelle Sanders and entered not guilty pleas on charges of the aggravated discharge of a weapon and two counts alleging the aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

He also denied a further charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Watch now: Details emerge in case of man accused of trying to kill Decatur police officer

The case was called for a preliminary hearing and Judge Rodney Forbes ruled there was probable cause for Pettis to stand trial on all counts. The judge scheduled a pretrial hearing for Aug. 30 and Pettis remains free on bail of $50,000 having posted a bond of $5,000.

A sworn affidavit from Decatur Police said Pettis had gotten into a confrontation May 4 with the 31-year-old victim in which the defendant delivered a warning over what police described as an “inter-family sexual fidelity issue,” without elaborating.

“During said argument, Pettis brandished a small black-colored revolver-style handgun and pointed it at (the victim’s) head from a distance of a few feet away,” said Police Officer William Hill.

“Pettis then made the comment that he would kill (the victim) over the matter. He then intentionally fired two shots from this firearm into the yard just several feet away from the (victim) before leaving the scene.”

Hill said Pettis had been arrested within minutes and, while he is quoted as admitting he had an argument, he denied firing any shots or even possessing a handgun.

The victim’s story was backed up by his girlfriend, however, who had been standing next to him during the confrontation. Hill said police later found two bullet holes in the grass of the victim’s front yard and dug a spent bullet out of one of them that was preserved for evidence.

Pettis has a criminal record and a check of Macon County Circuit Court cases shows he was sentenced to a year in prison in 2004 after pleading guilty to failure to register as a sex offender.

Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid


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