2013-01-16 / Front Page

Two Arrested In Death Of Former Fort Loudon Resident

Man said he thought Robert Devitto was a deer when he shot him

Two Sanford, N.C., men were arrested last week in connection with the death of a former Fort Loudon resident who succumbed to buckshot wounds to his face and chest while duck hunting on North Carolina state gamelands.

Twenty-three-year-old Steven Cody Burnette alleged in interviews with Lee County sheriff investigators he believed 26-year-old Robert Devitto was a deer when he fired a shotgun on December 18. Burnette was reportedly hunting with his uncle, George Wilburn Raines, at the time.

According to media reports, Burnette said he told his uncle after they left the area he believed he had shot another hunter. Neither man alerted authorities.

Burnette has been charged with second-degree murder and is being held in the Lee County Jail without bond. Meanwhile, Raines, 52, is charged with accessory after the fact to second-degree murder. He is being held under a $75,000 secured bond.

Investigators were led to the duo when they were alerted to a green 2000 Dodge Ram that was registered to Raines. In previous announcements, sheriff’s office officials said they were searching for at least two others vehicles that may have been parked in the vicinity of Devitto’s truck. One such vehicle was a green mid- 1990s or early 2000s Dodge extended cab truck.

In addition, law enforcement officials released a composite sketch of a man seen in that area as a white male in his 20s with a fair complexion and scruffy, reddish facial hair. At the time of the incident, the man was wearing camouflage and an orange hat. The sketch and announcement resulted in dozens of tips and calls.

Devitto was found alive by friends at 8:15 p.m. on December 18 when he failed to return to his Broadway, N.C., home after having gone duck hunting. He died three days later at WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh after he was taken off life support.

Devitto was a former resident of the Fort Loudon area in neighboring Franklin County. Following his graduation from James Buchanan High School in 2005, he joined the United States Army where he was currently serving as a staff sergeant at Fort Bragg. He completed a tour in Korea as well as combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Devitto is survived by his wife, Jaimi Devitto, and his parents and sister, who reside in Shippensburg.

Return to top