TARBORO, N.C. — Edgecombe County deputies are investigating a homicide and arson in which a Tarboro man allegedly killed his wife and then set their mobile home on fire Wednesday morning.
The suspect, Lorenzo Pittman, has been charged with first-degree murder and first-degree arson. He was arrested at the scene and taken to Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville for injuries he received during the altercation.
According to investigators, deputies received a call at 4 a.m. reporting that 44-year-old Cassandra Carol Pittman, of 2027 Burnette Road in Tarboro had been killed and her mobile home set on fire.
Officers, area firemen and rescue-squad units responded to the call and saw the home fully engulfed in flames when they arrived. They were unable to locate the body until the fire was extinguished.
Mr. Pittman was at the scene when the authorities arrived. Edgecombe County Sheriff James Knight said Pittman told investigators he had an altercation with his wife that began when she hit him in the head with a hammer and stabbed him.
Pittman allegedly told authorities that he retaliated against his wife by cutting her throat and setting her and the house on fire, and then he went next door to tell his brother what he had done.
Mr. Pittman's injuries did not appear to be life-threatening.
Family members said they did not know of any problems with the couple and could not believe Cassandra was gone.
"The whole family is shocked," family member Portia Cobb said. "We just had a big family gathering this weekend, and they seemed to be getting along just fine."
Ralph Bryant lives just up the road from. He said he has known Lorenzo Pittman for 30 years, adding that he even helped with repairs on Pittman's home.
"I've never known anything bad about him," Bryant said. "He's just always been a nice, helpful guy."