The incident occurred on August 22, 2004, a day that should have been a joyful celebration for the family as John’s law firm had just won three major cases.
Susan had just turned 57. Christopher and his fiancé, Juliette Driscoll, had come to visit for the occasion, but the night ended in tragedy.
John was shot in the head while dozing at home, and Susan was also attacked. Susan was found dead in her bedroom, shot six times, while John was rushed to hospital.
When the police arrived on the scene, they found that all the shell casings came from 9mm guns. Investigators ruled out a burglary because jewelry and other valuables could still be seen.
During the investigation, Teddy Montoto, a member of John’s law firm, claimed to have heard gunshots while talking to Susan on the phone.
Montoto agreed to make a statement at the station, revealing that he was carrying a .9mm weapon. Montoto and Susan worked closely together at the company, and this raised suspicions about his involvement in the crime.
Christopher Sutton informed police that he and his girlfriend had seen a film the night before the incident and provided cards as identification.
Theatrical security cameras confirmed their whereabouts. However, the evidence against Christopher began to pile up and he was eventually found guilty of the attempted murder of his family.
John went blind after the incident and was hospitalized until mid-September. He was kept in the dark about his wife’s murder until he was fully cured.
The incident devastated the Sutton family, with Christopher’s actions resulting in the loss of his mother’s life and causing significant damage to his father.
The case study
After Teddy Montoto agreed to a lie detector test, the police questioned him again about his relationship with Susan.
It was revealed that Montoto had been dishonest in his past statements as he was having an affair with Susan.
This admission shed new light on the case and prompted the police to reconsider their investigation.
The investigation then focused on Chris Sutton as the evidence against him began to pile up. Police discovered that Chris had a troubled past, including legal run-ins and vandalizing a teacher’s house when he was a teenager.
Over their son’s objections, John and Susan sent Chris to Paradise Cove, a highly disciplined boarding school in Samoa, as a last-ditch effort to help him. Chris returned on his 19th birthday and his parents thought he was progressing.
However, investigators later found that Chris was still financially dependent on his parents and was resentful of being sent to Paradise Cove.
In March 2005, a breakthrough occurred when a woman told police that her ex-boyfriend, Garrett Kopp, may have been responsible for Susan’s death.
Chris had Kopp’s phone number, and detectives discovered that Kopp was facing a firearms charge related to a Glock .9mm handgun that had been seized.
After analyzing the weapon, investigators confirmed that Susan had been killed with that firearm and John had also been shot with it.
When questioned by police, Kopp confessed that Chris recruited him to kill his parents and that Chris promised to give him a share of the insurance payout.
Juliette Driscoll confirmed Chris’ resentment of Paradise Cove, according to “Murdered by Morning.”
Chris Sutton arrested
The investigation into the attempted murder of John and Susan Sutton was a complex and lengthy process.
Teddy Montoto’s involvement, the revelation of Chris Sutton’s troubled past and resentment towards his parents, and the connection to Garrett Kopp’s firearm all contributed to Chris Sutton’s successful prosecution.
The case highlights the importance of a thorough police investigation and the possible consequences of family tensions and financial dependence.
On March 26, 2005, an arrest warrant was issued for Chris Sutton. In July 2010, Christopher Sutton stood trial for murder. Kopp, who agreed to testify in exchange for a 30-year plea deal, was the prosecution’s star witness, and John Sutton also testified against his son.
On July 21, Christopher Sutton was found guilty of attempted murder and first-degree murder. He was sentenced to three life terms without parole.