Sex Offender Arrested for Sunday School Teacher's Murder
MIDWEST CITY, Oklahoma -- A registered aggravated sex offender from Oklahoma City who said he suffers with PTSD because of "something bad that happened to him while he was in prison" has been arrested for murder in connection with the death of a young Spencer woman early Saturday morning.
James Allen O'Berry, 53, was taken into custody Saturday evening after surveillance video from the Del City Walmart was aired on several local television stations and two separate tipsters called with O'Berry's name and address.
When detectives and officers from Midwest City and Oklahoma City Police Department arrived at O'Berry's mobile home, 2401 S.E. 44th, Lot No. 50, in Oklahoma City, his 1997 Lincoln Towne car was parked outside.
The car matched the description given by the witness who saw the attack and also had damage to the left, front and driver's side rear view mirror. Evidence gathered at the murder scene from the suspect's car was linked to O'Berry's Lincoln. The car also had blood inside.
O'Berry admits he met the 26-year-old victim, Nelly Pelts, inside the Del City Walmart at about 12:20 a.m. Saturday. Video shows O'Berry approaching Pelts and were both shown leaving the store at 12:35 a.m. Pelts was murdered at 12:51 a.m.
Family members of Pelts describe her as a devout Christian who takes every opportunity to share the word of God and her church. It was not uncommon for Pelts to shop at Walmart late in the evening and witness to individuals.
She also was so proud of her church that if anyone showed an interest, she would take them to the church location, according to her family. Pelts' church was adjacent to the murder scene.
During an interview with Detective Karl Landers, O'Berry admits to randomly meeting her at the Walmart in Del City, striking up a conversation and then leaving with her. O'Berry said that the last thing he recalls is standing across the street from Pelts' church talking with her outside their cars and then "blacking out."
The next thing he said he remembers is being inside his mobile home, covered in blood. Pelts not only was struck by O'Berry's car, but she had been stabbed several times, according to police. This information was not originally released because of its critical nature to the investigation.
Investigators recovered O'Berry's clothing which had been discarded and dumped in a trash bin near Interstate 35 and S.W. 44th Street.
Search warrants have been conducted on O'Berry's home and car in which additional evidence has been recovered. O'Berry had changed his appearance by cutting his hair and also suffered a laceration to his left arm during the attack which required medical treatment prior to him being jailed.
"We are extremely grateful to Walmart for providing photos of our suspect, to the media for airing those almost instantaneously, and to our tipsters who called in which lead to O'Berry's identification," Chief Brandon Clabes said.
"A tremendous amount of manpower was allocated to solve this brutal homicide, and everyone worked tirelessly for justice," he added.
"You have a young, innocent woman who devotes her life to her faith and because of this, becomes targeted by a sexual predator and ultimately killed. Basically within a time span of 20 minutes, James O'Berry tracked his prey and viciously killed her," Clabes said.
"I wasn't surprised at all that he took somebody else's life," said Brian Bates.
Bates is known as the Video Vigilante. He said it was back in September when he first met James O'Berry when he'd picked up a prostitute on S. Robinson.
Bates said O'Berry tried to assault him. After posting the video online, Bates began to hear from people who knew the convicted con.
"All of those e-mails came with a warning; he's a very violent man," Bates said.
Bates said he filed a complaint with the police department. But in the meantime, he tried to prevent O'Berry from soliciting prostitutes.
"My only fear is since the police didn't act on my video and didn't charge this guy with some sort of probation violation, he was then allowed to perpetrate this murder," Bates said.
District Attorney David Prater said he's been in contact with Brian Bates about the complaint he filed at the police department. Prater said he's trying to find out what happened and if O'Berry's probation could have been revoked, which may have prevented the murder of Nelly Pelts.
The 53-year-old is currently being held at the Midwest City Police Department jail on a first-degree murder complaint. Investigators want to question him further to see if he's been involved in any other unsolved crimes in the area.
He has a long violent criminal history out of Alabama, records show.
More on News9.com: Police Seek Suspect In Spencer Woman's Death