Fugitive captured in Fort Deposit

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 25, 2002

Fugitive Robin Lane Tetter, 41, was arrested Wednesday night in Fort Deposit after running

from the FBI since 1997, according to FBI Special Agent Margaret Faulkner.

Tetter was convicted in 1980 on charges of conspiracy to commit murder against a law enforcement officer, and served 14 years of a 27-year sentence before being paroled.

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He was arrested by Fort Deposit Police Wednesday night around 9 p.m. at his girlfriend's residence on Milner Street on charges of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

Tetter's girlfriend, Serita Schofield also was arrested and could face charges of harboring a criminal.

The two subjects were transported to Lowndes County Jail where Tetter was to be picked up by federal agents to go before a federal magistrate.

Tetter was sentenced to 20 years in a federal facility after being convicted of charges of criminal conspiracy to commit murder. He was arrested August 4, 1980, after inmates notified Butler County jail administrators he had smuggled a shotgun into the jail and hidden it. He was being held in the jail on charges of escape and had been convicted prior to that on charges of burglary, second degree, according to court records.

Witnesses testified Tetter and his ex-wife, Diane Tetter, along with Bobby Edwards (alias Bobby Lowe), were conspiring to kill the late Butler County Sheriff Parker Worthington and Diane Tetter was able to smuggle the gun in to Tetter. Witnesses said he hid the gun in the day room of the Butler County Jail and the three subjects continued to discuss their plans over a period of a few days, according to witnesses.

Witnesses said the plans were for Tetter to have the gun in his cell before the cell doors were unlocked early one morning and to take jailers hostage and have them call Sheriff Worthington to the jail where they would then kill him, witnesses testified.

These plans were foiled when witnesses informed jailers of the plans.

After Tetter's conviction, he wrote letters requesting a retrial and later requesting that his sentence be reduced. One such letter requesting a sentence reduction written on May 13, 1985 read:

"On Aug. 4, 1980, while I was 19 years of age, I was influenced by other inmates and my ex-wife Diane Lynn Tetter to escape from the Butler County Jail. I was also under the influence of alcohol. On Aug. 4, 1980, I was under extreme influence by Diane Lynn Tetter. On this day I received a shotgun at the Butler County Jail. I was pressed by Diane Lynn Tetter to escape any way I could. My age was a major factor in all things related to my three sentences, and me not being able to understand truly my actions. I would like the court to consider my new-found Christian belief and attitudes. Also five years of prison to gain control of my thoughts (be taken into consideration), and also not to be influenced by others."

This request was denied and Tetter remained in prison until he was paroled on February 27, 1989. He violated this parole and has now been captured by the FBI on charges of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

Wednesday morning, Faulkner stated Tetter was considered to be armed and dangerous. "He was convicted of conspiring to kill a police officer," she said. "To me, that's armed and dangerous. And today (Wednesday), he is avoiding prosecution by running from us and hiding from us. That doesn't tell me he's any less dangerous."

Faulkner said agents had reasonable evidence to assume the suspect was at the residence in Fort Deposit and that several individuals had identified him and said he was in the area. They surrounded the residence Wednesday afternoon and, after entering the residence just after 4 p.m., found that the suspect had already fled.

"The Parole Department put out a warrant for his arrest and we had heard that he had fled the state of Alabama to avoid prosecution so we obtained a federal warrant for him and we had information today that he was at this location, at this residence," Faulkner said. "By the time we got here and set up, he had slipped away."

Tetter attempted to return to the residence around 9 p.m. Wednesday where he and Schofield were both placed under arrest by Fort Deposit Police, according to officials.

Before her arrest, Tetter's girlfriend, Schofield, said she was not worried that she would be charged with any crimes associated with this occurrence. She said she simply felt that Tetter needs "more people who believe in him."

"I don't care if they do (bring charges against her)," Schofield said. "Somebody's got to make a stand for the good people out there

He may have made mistakes in his past, but he's a good man now."

Schofield said she was not told by Tetter the complete circumstances surrounding his original sentence, but that "he told me a little bit over the years and that was when he was a teenager and he has told me a little bit about that. It's hard for me to tell about something when I wasn't there."

At that time, Schofield said she felt that Tetter would not attempt to return to the residence. She also said she had no way of contacting him and that "if I could, I surely would help him."

Faulkner said she feels Tetter will now face the likelihood of carrying out the remainder of his original sentence, and that charges may now be brought against Schofield.