Local News

Two charged in Lee County hunter's shooting death

Posted January 8, 2013 8:22 p.m. EST
Updated January 8, 2013 8:57 p.m. EST

— 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.