Alex Deaton after his arrest
Alex Deaton after his arrest
A Philadelphia man charged with the Feb. 23 murder of a woman inside a church in the Dixon community faces an 11-count indictment in New Mexico, following grand jury action there last week.

A grand jury in New Mexico indicted Alex Deaton, 28, with three counts of kidnapping  (firearm enhancement), two counts of armed robbery (firearm enhancement), one count of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon or, in the alternative, aggravated battery with great bodily harm (firearm enhancement), three counts aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (firearm enhancement), unlawful taking of a motor vehicle and receiving or transferring a stolen motor vehicle.

The indictment charges that all the crimes occurred on or about Feb. 28.

Deaton faces a murder charge here in the Feb. 23 shooting death of Brenda Pinter, 69, as she arrived to clean   Dixon Baptist Church.

Her body was found inside the church after she did not return home.

Deaton is also charged in Brandon with first-degree murder, auto theft, and drive-by shooting. He's accused of strangling his girlfriend, stealing her car, and shooting a jogger in February before he allegedly killed Pinter.

He later allegedly carjacked a couple in New Mexico before fleeing to Kansas and shooting a store clerk.

In October, Deaton was sentenced to nearly 13 years in prison and ordered to pay $4,000 in restitution for shooting a Pratt, Kan., convenience store clerk in March after he pleaded guilty there to attempted first-degree murder and aggravated robbery.

Neshoba County District Attorney Steven Kilgore said earlier that Deaton would eventually be brought back to Rankin County and then to Neshoba to face charges.

“They will get him first since the crimes occurred there first,” Kilgore said. “We are just waiting for everyone else to get finished with him.”

The 11-count indictment in New Mexico, charges:

• Kidnapping: Deaton was armed with a firearm and unlawfully took Devon Philo by force with the intent that Philo be held as a hostage against his will or to inflict death or physical injury on him.

• Kidnapping: Was armed with a firearm and unlawfully took Sara Reeves, two counts, by force with the intent that Reeves be held as a hostage against her will or to inflict death of physical injury on her.

• Armed robbery: Was armed with a firearm and took a 2001 Honda Accord from Sara Reeves by use or threatened use of force or violence.

• Armed robbery: Was armed with a firearm and took a Toyota Sienna from Joe Neal Pitts by use or threatened use of force or violence.

• Aggravated battery: Touched or applied force to Devon Philo with or without a handgun with the intent to injure or cause great bodily harm to  him.

• Aggravated  assault:  Assaulted or struck Devon Philo with a handgun.

• Aggravated  assault:  Assaulted or struck Sara Reeves with a handgun, two counts.

• Unlawful taking of a motor vehicle: Took a 2001 Honda Accord without consent of the owner.

•  Receiving or transferring a stolen motor vehicle: Had in his possession a 2012 GMC Acadia Denali he knew or had reason to believe had been stolen.

In the Neshoba County murder case, investigators obtained a “text message” where Deaton “made reference to killing a person in a church,” Sheriff Tommy Waddell said at the time.

In addition, a white SUV was captured on video at the church around the same time Mrs. Pinter was shot to death, leading authorities to name Deaton as a “person of interest” early in connection with the case.

He was believed to have been driving his girlfriend’s white 2012 GMC Acadia bearing Mississippi Nurses Foundation Tag Number F396 NF on the day of the Neshoba County murder.

Video showed a white SUV arrived at the church “just a few minutes” after Mrs. Pinter got there, the Sheriff said.

“It stayed several minutes at the church before leaving on Highway 21 headed toward Forest,” Waddell said. “We know that was the only vehicle that entered the parking lot until her husband discovered her body.”

Mrs. Pinter had gone to clean the church after leaving another job, Waddell said earlier.

Earlier that day about 3:50 p.m., Waddell said Mrs. Pinter talked on her cellphone with a sister-in-law.

“She was at the church and she told the family member she had to go because somebody was coming up,” he said. “She said she didn’t know if it was someone lost or needing directions.”

Waddell said that call was the last known contact anyone had with Mrs. Pinter. She had sat with an elderly person until around 3:30 p.m. or so that day, before going to the church, he said.

Sheriff’s Investigator Ralph Sciple said Mrs. Pinter, who had recently undergone a hip replacement, had parked her car at the front door of the church so she wouldn't have to walk very far. He said nothing appeared to be missing from the church or from Mrs. Pinter’s purse.

An autopsy showed the cause of death was a gun shot wound, Waddell said.

Deaton remains in custody in Kansas.