Anitra Gunn was strangled, warrant alleges

DeMarcus Little is not charged with Anitra Gunn’s murder, but he's charged with damaging her property two weeks before someone killed her.

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DeMarcus Little is not charged with Anitra Gunn’s murder, but he's charged with damaging her property two weeks before someone killed her.

Slain Fort Valley University student Anitra Gunn was strangled to death, according to an arrest warrant released Monday.

Her boyfriend, DeMarcus Little, 23, a U.S. Army soldier stationed at Fort Gordon, has been charged with malice murder. Gunn was “manually” strangled on Feb. 14, the the day she was reported missing, the warrant said.

A graduate of Fulton County’s Westlake High, Gunn was killed in the woods where her body was found covered in sticks after a days-long search, according to the warrant. She was 23.

Authorities have not released a motive.

Little previously had been charged with criminal damage to property stemming from a Feb. 5 incident that left Anitra Gunn’s windows broken and her tires slashed. He was granted $10,000 bond Friday, hours before the GBI announced he had been charged with malice murder. In a court appearance Monday, Little was denied bond.

Gunn's funeral is set for 11 a.m. Saturday at at Greater Peace Baptist Church in Opelika, Ala. Fort Valley State students gathered on campus Monday night for a vigil in a campus auditorium.

A seat in the front row, draped in fine black cloth with a giant black bow, was reserved for Gunn. A choir sang “Soon We are Going to See the King” during the somber event.

Bobby Dickey, chair of the school’s Visual and Performing Arts and Media Studies department, said Gunn was a musically talented, vibrant young woman.

“She was one of the sweetest young ladies I ever met since I’ve been at the school,” he said. “We’re gonna miss her, but we’re gonna hold her legacy up high.”

Macon station WMAZ streamed the vigil.

Gunn’s remains were discovered Feb. 18 a few miles from her home, following a search involving police and firefighters from numerous jurisdictions. Todd Crosby, the assistant special agent in charge of the GBI’s Perry office, declined to give details about the case. Little likely will have a preliminary hearing where a detective will testify about the evidence in coming weeks.

Anitra’s father, Christopher Gunn, has asked for prayers and privacy.

“The ray of sunshine and the apple of our eye gained her heavenly wings,” a Go Fund Me campaign to accept donations toward his daughter’s funeral and burial expenses reads. “Although we have so many unanswered questions, we are trusting in God thru it all. We are so THANKFUL for the outpouring of love, support and prayers from all over the country.”

Anitra’s mother, Melissa Shearhouse, died in 2014 at age 35. She wrecked her car while negotiating a curve one day outside Opeika, a police report said. For a later Mother’s Day, Anitra posted a photo of her mother’s grave on Facebook, with a note.

“It’s not at all the same without you, but I feel your presence,” she wrote. “That’s all I need.”

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