Alex Deaton
Alex Deaton
A Philadelphia man suspected of killing or wounding people in Mississippi, New Mexico and Kansas, including the murder of a woman at a church here, has been sentenced in Kansas for crimes committed there.

The man, Alex Deaton, was sentenced Monday to nearly 13 years in prison and ordered to pay $4,000 in restitution for shooting a Pratt, Kan., convenience store clerk in March.

Deaton pleaded guilty in July to attempted first-degree murder and aggravated robbery.

He's charged in Brandon with first-degree murder, auto theft, and drive-by shooting. He's accused of strangling his girlfriend, stealing her car, and shooting a jogger in February.

Deaton, 28, faces a murder charge here in the Feb. 23 shooting death of Brenda Pinter as she arrived to clean at the Dixon Baptist Church.

Two other charges were dropped by Kansas officials.

Deaton is charged with the murder of Pinter, 69, whose body was found inside the church after she did not return home.

Neshoba County District Attorney Steven Kilgore said Monday that Deaton would eventually be brought back to Rankin County and then to Neshoba to face charges.

“They will get him first since the crimes occurred there first,” Kilgore said. “We are just waiting for everyone else to get finished with him.”

Kilgore said at this point he wasn’t sure when the case would be presented to a Neshoba County Grand Jury.

“We are still waiting on the guns we sent to the state crime lab for analysis,” he said. “Kansas told us they didn’t need the guns we were interested in, so we got those. We’re not in a big hurry because he isn’t going anywhere.”

He's accused of strangling his girlfriend, stealing her car and shooting a jogger in February before he allegedly killed Pinter.

He also allegedly carjacked a couple in New Mexico before fleeing to Kansas and shooting the clerk.

Neshoba County Sheriff Tommy Waddell said earlier that investigators had obtained a “text message” where Deaton “made reference to killing a person in a church.”

In addition, a white SUV was captured on video at the church around the same time Mrs. Pinter was shot to death, leading authorities to name Deaton as a “person of interest” early in connection with the case.

He was believed to have been driving his girlfriend’s white 2012 GMC Acadia bearing Mississippi Nurses Foundation Tag Number F396 NF on the day of the Neshoba County murder.

Video showed a white SUV arrived at the church “just a few minutes” after Mrs. Pinter got there, the Sheriff said.

“It stayed several minutes at the church before leaving on Highway 21 headed toward Forest,” Waddell said. “We know that was the only vehicle that entered the parking lot until her husband discovered her body.”

Mrs. Pinter had gone to clean the church after leaving another job, Waddell said earlier.

Earlier that day about 3:50 p.m., Waddell said Mrs. Pinter talked on her cellphone with a sister-in-law.

“She was at the church and she told the family member she had to go because somebody was coming up,” he said. “She said she didn’t know if it was someone lost or needing directions.”

Waddell said that call was the last known contact anyone had with Mrs. Pinter. She had sat with an elderly person until around 3:30 p.m. or so that day, before going to the church, he said.

Sheriff’s Investigator Ralph Sciple said Mrs. Pinter, who had recently undergone a hip replacement, had parked her car at the front door of the church so she wouldn't have to walk very far. He said nothing appeared to be missing from the church or from Mrs. Pinter’s purse.

An autopsy showed the cause of death was a gun shot wound, Waddell said.