Local News

Two charged in Lee County hunter's shooting death

Posted January 8, 2013

— Lee County authorities have arrested two Sanford men in connection with the fatal shooting of a hunter last month.

Steven Cody Burnette, 23, was charged with second-degree murder and was being held Tuesday without bond at the Lee County jail.

George Wilburn Raines, 52, faces one count of accessory after the fact. His bond was set at $75,000.

Both are due in court Wednesday morning.

Robert Matthew Devitto, 26, of Broadway, was duck hunting by himself on Dec. 18 on state game lands near Gunther Road in Lee County when he was shot at relatively close range. Investigators said the shooting wasn't an accident.

Devitto, a Fort Bragg soldier, died three days later.

On Jan. 3, authorities released a composite sketch of a man and description of a green Dodge truck that were seen near the scene of the shooting. The investigation led them to a green 2000 Dodge Ram registered to Raines, who is Burnette's uncle.

Once investigators zeroed in on Burnette, he acknowledged he had been hunting on the game lands Dec. 18 and discharged his shotgun at what he thought was a deer. He told investigators that when he got closer, he realized he had shot a man with a dog. 

After leaving the scene, authorities said, Burnette told Raines what happened, but neither man called police.

20 Comments

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  • commonsence Jan 15, 4:15 p.m.

    you are not required to wear orange to duck hunt, in fact if you do you will not be successful, birds can see in the color spectrum of light. It is a good idea to wear orange to and from the site you plan to hunt. If the shooter did make a mistake he should have reported it. The fact that he did not report it says he was trying to cover up something.

  • HisLoVe Jan 14, 2:03 p.m.

    didnt the news report that there was an altercation prior to the shooting or did I misinterpret that? Sad senseless act. Why, if you are innocent, would you not try to help save this mans life??

  • fishon Jan 11, 10:26 a.m.

    Lets see thought it was a deer, wonder what gave it away, must have been the orange hat.
    bdu4dals2

    Birds can see color. Is hunter orange required for duck hunting? Or is it possible the deceased took his orange off when he got into the blind?

    I was small game hunting in PA many years ago and walked right up on a turkey hunter in full camo, no orange. He said nothing until I was about 10 feet away. If a rabbit or grouse or pheasant had flushed it could have been a bad situation.

    Not saying that is the case here but it might have been. On the other hand there is no way it should not have been reported immediately. Similar to a hit and run driver...

  • itsyoureternalsoul Jan 9, 6:40 p.m.

    Remember, when you kill somebody --even accidently--the best thing to do if you are a heartless, trigger-happy red neck is to get in the truck and drive off.

  • bdu4dals2 Jan 9, 6:02 p.m.

    Lets see thought it was a deer, wonder what gave it away, must have been the orange hat. Prime example that all people don't belong in the woods with a gun. To top it all off, when he went to see what he tossed a round at and found a hunter, they both split??? I see both of them going to jail for a VERY long time, oh wait, we can plea bargain this down so they only do probation and a fine. We have lawmakers with no stones!

  • Big D 87 Jan 9, 3:55 p.m.

    Glad to see they will be behind bars.They don't desevre to ever be free ,if they would have reported it as soon as it happened I could believe it was an accident.I also think 1st degree murder applies.

  • Lightfoot3 Jan 9, 12:42 p.m.

    "No both were not their!!Any time you know something about a crime and you don't report it you are just as guilty." - robbyh


    If that's the case, then the shoplifting example (or any crime for that matter) would be valid. Where is the line drawn? If someone tells me they painted graffiti on a bridge, and I don't turn them in, am I an accessory? If someone tells me they drove home drunk last week, and I don't call the police, am I an accessory? I never knew just the knowledge of a crime made one an accessory, but from what I've been reading that does appear to be the case.

  • topfan4unc Jan 9, 10:21 a.m.

    The shooting "was at a close range".......now tell me again you thought it was a deer!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Ballistics can tell within 1 ft or less of the actual distance when the gun was fired based on the wound pattern and other factors.

  • marciamal1 Jan 9, 10:10 a.m.

    If you can't determine a man/dog from a deer - what the heck are you doing out in the woods?

  • robbyh Jan 9, 10:06 a.m.

    Lightfoot3..After leaving the scene, authorities said, Burnette told Raines what happened, but neither man called police.....No both were not their!!Any time you know something about a crime and you don't report it you are just as guilty.

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