Death of high-profile psychiatrist linked to the killing of two paralegals a day later as police look into a fourth possible victim

Police in a Phoenix suburb say it's still unclear if the shooting death of a man at an office park is tied to three other slayings, including the killing of a psychiatrist.


                            Death of high-profile psychiatrist linked to the killing of two paralegals a day later as police look into a fourth possible victim
(Police Department)

The fear is real in the suburbs of Phoenix at the moment with rumors spreading that there may be a serial killer on the loose. The authorities have made the connection between the murders of two women and the murder of a high-profile forensic psychiatrist who is famous for consulting on the JonBenet Ramsey (an American child beauty queen who was killed in her family's home in Boulder, Colorado) case. The investigation is on-going to find out if a fourth murder is linked to these as well.

Officers in Scottsdale, a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona, said that the murders of 48-year-old Veleria Sharp and 49-year-old Laura Anderson (both paralegals) on June 1 was definitely connected to the killing of Dr. Steven Pitt who was shot dead on May 31.

Sgt. Ben Hoster with the Scottsdale police was not able to give out any more information on how the three victims were connected because the case is still open. Now coming to the fourth case they are investigating is the fatal shooting of psychologist Marshall Levine that took place early on June 2 in an office park close by. They are trying to find out if this murder was also connected to the first three.

The police released a suspect sketch after the murder of Dr. Pitt and it showed a bald white male wearing a dark-colored hat with a short brim. There is a combined reward of $21,000 out on any information that could lead to the whereabouts of the suspect in the sketch.

Sharp and Anderson, the paralegals, were shot and killed at around 2:15 p.m. on June 1 at the Law Office of Burt, Fledman, and Grenier. The law firm focuses on cases that deal with mediation and family law litigation. One of the women was able to crawl out of the building and onto the sidewalk on East 1st Street in spite of being shot on the head. A bus driver spotted her and called 911 but she died in the hospital just a few minutes later.

When police were at the scene investigating, they followed the woman's trail of blood to the building of the law firm and they found the second victim. The authorities pronounced her dead at the scene, details a report in the NYTimes.

Saber Sharp, the victim's husband, said in a statement: "The world lost one of the finest women I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. We welcome your love and prayers but will not be answering any questions at this time."

The law firm also issued a statement saying that both Sharp and Anderson were treasured by their co-workers who were mourning the death of their colleagues. The statement also said that they were helping the police get to the bottom of this. Sharp was widely praised as a wife and mother who loved music and her faith. Anderson was said to be a grandmother and a mother with intellect and passion.

Only 10 hours after Sharp and Anderson were murdered and barely six miles away from the law firm, psychologist Marshall Levine was shot dead in an office park. According to his Psychology Today profile, he was a counselor and psychologist who specialized in alcohol addiction recovery and LGBTG issues. Peak Life Solutions, Levine's life-coaching company, is in the building where he was killed.

Sgt. Hoster said that deputies were responding to a call on June 2 about someone in an office park who was fatally shot. This occurred at around 12:10 a.m. Hoster only said that the call was made by a person who knew the victim. Police have still not released his identity but a colleague confirmed in interviews with local news outlets that the man who was killed was indeed Levine. 

The murder spree started on May 31 in Phoenix with the first victim being 59-year-old Dr. Steven Pitt. He helped in the investigation of the high-profile JonBenet Ramsey murder in 1996. There were also a string of other murders in the area at that time which Dr. Pitt consulted on.

It has been reported that the forensic psychiatrist was leaving his office at around 5:23 p.m. when witnesses heard a loud argument. Then they heard a gun being fired as he was shot and killed. Dr. Pitt's office is near the intersection of 71st Street and Bell Road in Scottsdale. 

According to ABC15, officers who arrived at the scene found Dr. Pitt "critically wounded". Sgt. Vince Lewis, a spokesperson for the Phoenix police, told Tucson.com that he does not have any information as to whether the murder is connected to anything he is working on. He said: "We are not ruling anything out, but at this point, a loud argument probably suggests they knew each other either professionally or personally."

Dr. Pitt is most known for helping the police in the investigation into the death of JonBenet Ramsey, a six-year-old pageant princess who was found murdered in her home in Boulder, Colorado. He was able to find a cover-up by saying that the pineapple that was found in the little girl's digestive tract was a key piece of evidence.

JonBenet's mother, Patsy, had told investigators that her daughter had not eaten any fruit before she went missing but her fingerprints were found on the fruit bowl. This raised Dr. Pitt's suspicions. He had told PEOPLE magazine in an interview: "The fingerprints on the bowl or cup that were used to give JonBenét the pineapple were Patsy’s fingerprints. It suggests someone is not telling the truth about what happened at that home that night."

A prosecutor was able to clear JonBenet's parents and her brother in 2008 after DNA evidence came to their rescue. 

Dr. Pitt also played a role in the investigation into the Baseline Killer of 2006. He helped the police hunt down the man who killed nine people and was instrumental in his conviction. He has also acted as a consultant into the Columbine High School Shooting of 1999.

The most recent case that Dr. Pitt was working on before he died was a series of shootings in the Maryvale area that began in April. Six people have been shot so far. One of the victims who was shot last month died of their injuries earlier this week. The suspect, in that case, is still at large.

David Weinstock, one of Dr. Pitt's friends and a fellow psychologist in Phoenix, told AZCentral that he thinks a person who is connected to one of Dr. Pitt's criminal cases could be the one responsible for the murders. He said in an email: "I could be wrong, but the timing and circumstances sound a lot like someone who was waiting outside his office for him. I suspect this was one who either got out after Steve helped put him away or someone whose case he was working on who felt threatened about what Steve could do." 

The reward for information on the suspected serial killer was raised on June 2 night. Silent Witness and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office have combined rewards in this case of up to $11,000 leading to an arrest. ATF is offering an additional reward of $10,000 for information leading to a conviction.

Anyone with information about the shootings is urged to contact Silent Witness anonymously at 1-480-WITNESS.