Family members talk to News Leader 9 -, GA News Weather & Sports

Family: Murder suspect was trying to dump body in Phenix City

Posted: Updated: March 31, 2010 12:34 PM
SUSPECT Robert Cantelli, Source: Columbus Police Department SUSPECT Robert Cantelli, Source: Columbus Police Department

By Lindsey Connell - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Travis Hill can't believe his younger brother and best friend Joshua, or "P-Nut" as many called him, is gone.

Charged with his murder is 31-year-old Robert Cantelli. Family members say the two men were cousins through marriage.

"He just shot him for no reason. For no reason he just shot my brother," Travis told News Leader 9 Friday.

Police say Cantelli shot Hill in the head with a rifle inside his car Thursday afternoon, near the intersection of 12th Avenue and 19th Street in the East Highland section of the city.

Russell County officials say Cantelli drove to Seale, Alabama to a family member's house after the shooting where neighbors called 911 saying they saw Cantelli running around the car with a gun, covered in blood- Hill's body in the back seat.

Authorities chased him to Highway 280 and Seale Road where he was taken into custody.

"He was looking for a place to dump him. That's what we're thinking. He was looking for a place to get rid of him," Hill's brother said.

But this is not Cantelli's first run-in with the law.

In 1999, he plead guilty to Negligent Homicide by DUI in Russell County and was sentenced to four years in prison. In the indictment, it says Cantelli was driving drunk and overturned his car, killing the passenger, Brian LaFollette.

Court documents also show Cantelli was charged with four burglaries.

His motive in this latest case is still unknown.

And although, Joshua Hill had a criminal wrap sheet of his own, the 26-year-old is now Columbus' latest murder victim and his family is left asking why.

"Everybody is tore up. Everybody doesn't know where to turn, what's left and right now that is he is gone. He was an inspiration to our whole family. We love you P-Nut. We always will," Travis Hill added.

Robert Cantelli is scheduled to appear in Columbus Recorder's Court morning on the charge of murder.

He is being held in the Muscogee County Jail.

Joshua Hill's family is in the process of making funeral arrangements.

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