KOKOMO, Ind. – It took a jury less than 90 minutes to acquit one of two brothers charged in connection with a decade-old cold case murder in Kokomo.
On Friday, jurors acquitted 36-year-old Jesse McCartney on charges of murder, robbery and burglary in the death of 21-year-old Destiny Pittman.
On Feb. 7, 2013, officers with the Kokomo Police Department responded to a reported shooting in the 800 block of James Drive around 9:30 p.m. When they arrived, Pittman was unconscious and unresponsive. She later died from her injuries.
In the early stages of the investigation, police learned a home invasion may have been connected to Pittman’s death, with two armed suspects forcing their way into the residence and shooting her.
According to court documents, Jesse McCartney and his brother Joey McCartney, 32, emerged as suspects nearly a decade later after an informant claimed to have been with the brothers on the night of Pittman’s shooting.
The informant reported hearing gunshots after the brothers went into the home; Jesse McCartney came back with cash and a large bag of marijuana, the informant said.
The information led the Kokomo Police Department to announce the arrests of both men in March 2023.
During the trial, Launa Hunt, a former detective with the Kokomo Police Department, testified in Jesse McCartney’s defense, according to the Kokomo Tribune. She told the court that the McCartney brothers were not considered potential suspects when she worked on the case.
An Indiana State Police firearms examiner cast doubt on ballistics evidence, while the lack of DNA, fingerprints and cell phone records also weakened the case, the newspaper reported.
Joey McCartney’s trial is scheduled to start Tuesday, according to court records.