William Pettry had traveled to Jacksonville to attend his first Chicago Bears game. He flew out of Milwaukee Friday. He was stabbed to death early Sunday morning. Police say the motive may be jealousy.
Lilllie Asbury says her heart is breaking for her nephew, 42-year-old William "Christopher" Pettry, who she says was a harmless fun-loving guy who loved his wife and three children.
Investigators say Pettry, who lived in a private lake house community In Lake Villa, had his throat slashed in a Jacksonville, Florida, bar near his hotel Sunday at 1:40 a.m. He was in Jacksonville for the weekend but never made it to the Bears game with his buddies on Sunday afternoon.
His aunt says that investigators tell the family that Petry had been talking to the suspect, 27-year-old Matthew Reid Hinson, of Jacksonville, at the bar. She says the conversation is on surveillance video, and that despite other reports, there was no altercation nor bar fight
"For whatever reason, which we do not know, they do get up from the bar and move to another area of the bar. They sat down there and, within a split second, the guy pulled a knife and he stabbed my nephew. He died almost instantly," Asbury said. "He loved his family. His family was his whole life. It was just taking care of his family, his wife and his three children. He has two daughters and a son."
"We don't know what words were exchanged because it was just the victim and suspect sitting on a bench inside the bar, and a witness just said that he stood up, cut him and basically walked out," said Lt. Rob Schoonover, Jacksonville County Police.
Police say Hinson became jealous and enraged because he had seen Pettry talk to Hinson's wife. Hinson was caught a short time later.
Hinson, in court Monday morning in Jacksonville with cuts on his face from resisting arrest, police say, is now charged with felony murder.
"Chris was an outstanding man. He was not a violent man. He did not create fights with anyone," Asbury said.
And while his murder had nothing to do with football, Bears' coach Lovie Smith talked about Pettry during his Monday news conference.
"One of our supporters was killed as he came to Jacksonville to support his favorite team, so our prayers definitely go out to his family," Smith said.