MELVIN, Ala. — An 18-year-old Alabama woman has turned herself in and is facing a murder charge, as well as attempted murder, after fatally shooting a Baptist pastor on Saturday and injuring his wife.
Choctaw County Sheriff Scott Lolley identified the woman to reporters as Melissa Hill. She is being held on $1,050,000 bond.
According to The Chocktaw Sun, Timothy Pearson, who had pastored Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in the small West Alabama unincorporated community of Melvin for 14 years, was murdered just after midnight Saturday morning.
The Choctaw County Sheriff’s Department and Choctaw Emergency Medical Services responded to a 911 call reporting a shooting at a residence and found Pearson deceased from multiple gunshot wounds.
His wife, Melony, was injured but survived, being transported to Jeff Anderson Regional Medical Center in Meridian. She is stated to be in stable condition.
Authorities turned their attention toward a vehicle that was seen traveling from Melvin into Clarke County, Mississippi, and soon afterward, Hill turned herself in to authorities.
An investigation continues into the matter.
According to the church website, Pearson was a a 1993 graduate of Liberty Bible Institute in Lynchburg, Virginia and was a former Marine and postmaster. He preached for 27 years, serving as pastor of Mt. Moriah Baptist Church for almost 15 of those years.
“In addition to serving God and country, Tim finds time to seek the welfare of his community by serving as a board member on the Choctaw County Chamber of Commerce, chairman [of the] Supervisory Committee at Meridian Postal Credit Union, president [of the] Melvin Parks and Recreation Board, and as a board member for Leadership Choctaw,” it states.
Deacon Cornelius Banks told local television station WTOK-TV that Pearson made a difference in his life and was respected by the residents of Choctaw County.
“[H]e would draw you to him by what he believed in,” he recalled. “He would help me out a whole lot in the spiritual realm of things. He would strengthen me.”
Others have also left comments of condolences, expressing shock and heartbreak that Pearson had been murdered.
“I am truly heartbroken. [Pastor] Pearson was such a blessing to Choctaw County,” one commenter wrote. “We literally grew up together and were baptized at Mt. Moriah. I will always remember his graciousness and kindness to my family as we buried my mom just four months ago. My prayers for the church family, his wife and children, and the community.”
“This has really tore my heart up because I cared a great deal for Tim and Melony,” another stated. “They were a God fearing couple that was on the battlefield for the Lord, and you best believe God’s gonna fight this battle!”
“Tim Pearson has touched so many lives through his many avenues of outreach in this community and this county — whether through his church ministry or working with the youth or visiting with hospice patients,” a third remarked. “I have personally known Tim for years through the Postal Service and it has been my honor to know him and work with him. He had a positive impact on everyone he met. He and Melody visited with my dad when he was on hospice. Such kind, wonderful people.”
“For all the years I knew him, he was a strong leader for God and shared his love of God with all that he was near. Bless Melony Pearson and her family and her church family. … I know Tim would be praying for his assailant and that family also.”
Pearson’s last message, posted to his Facebook page on Jan. 3, was entitled “Beware of the Invisible Enemy.”