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Gretna murder suspect also faces charges in Halifax County court

A murder charge was certified earlier this month against a Lynchburg man accused of killing a Gretna man in Pittsylvania County General District Court.

James Thomas Santangelo II of 225 Coffee Road faces a second-degree murder charge.

Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Suzanne Holland said Charles Lynn Ooten, 52, died of a stab wound to the left side of his chest on July 28.

Investigators found Ooten outside his home on 289 Iona Drive, just off Route 40 near the Halifax-Pittsylvania County line.

Ooten’s wife called police after seeing him on the ground outside at 10:23 a.m., according to Lt. Col. Ronnie Simpson.

“She was not sure what had happened when she called,” Simpson said.

According to an arrest warrant, Ooten went outside to make a list of chores.

“He was confronted and attacked by (the) accused,” the warrant states.

The warrant also claims Santangelo, 23, and Ooten knew each other, and Ooten received death threats from Santangelo.

Ooten died outside his home, and Santangelo fled the scene, the warrant states. 

The alleged attacker turned himself in to Halifax County authorities later in the afternoon.

Investigator Anita Davis said Santangelo admitted to stabbing Ooten with a knife during a confrontation.

Santangelo, who had cuts on his wrists, told the investigator he went to Ooten’s home to repay money.

Ooten told Santangelo, “What are you doing here?” Davis said.

Santangelo said he threw the knife over a guardrail on L. P. Bailey Highway, between Ooten’s home and Halifax.

Court documents state Santangelo “confessed to going to (the) victim’s road, parking near the home, attacking the victim outside the residence and stabbing the victim with a knife.”

Rescue squad members pronounced Ooten dead at the scene.

Santangelo and Ooten allegedly had a “physical altercation” days before Ooten’s death, according to court records.

Simpson said the altercation did not happen at Ooten’s Gretna home, and he did not know of any injuries.

Judge George Jones certified the case to the next grand jury.

Santangelo is being held in Pittsylvania County jail without bond.

Santangelo also is facing charges in Halifax County. He was arrested July 26 and charged with strangling with wound or injury resulting and destruction of property with intent. He is scheduled to appear in court for those charges Sept. 21.