March 1, 2011

Christopher Sutton sentenced to three life sentences

Posted: 03:44 PM ET

Atlanta, GA – After a long trial, the verdict and sentencing of Christopher Sutton were delivered pretty quickly.  The jury deliberated for just 12 hours. They started right around 3:00 in the afternoon on July 20, spending two hours behind closed doors.  They started again the next day at 9:00 a.m.  The unanimous verdict was official by 7:00 that evening.  They found Sutton guilty on every count: the first-degree murder of his mother, Susan; attempted first-degree murder of his father, John; attempted first-degree felony murder; and armed burglary with assault and battery.  Even though he didn’t pull the trigger, the jury agreed he masterminded a murder-for-hire plot aimed at his own parents.

After the verdict was read, the jury was dismissed and the attorneys agreed to proceed with the sentencing immediately.  The gripping victim impact statements by Christopher’s father, sister and aunt were clearly full of painful, raw emotion.

John Sutton conveyed the depth of his loss, that of his wife, his eyesight and now, his son.  Even Judge Stanford Blake was clearly moved by this case: he reflected on the irony that this trial, his last criminal trial before voluntarily transferring to family court, was such an intense family tragedy.  Saying he was very much a family man himself, the judge reiterated John Sutton’s testimony recalling his pride and joy on the day he brought his adopted son home, even remembering exactly what baby Christopher was wearing.  Judge Blake remembers the same joy he felt at the birth of his own son and also recalled what his infant son wore that day.  Ironically, it was exactly the same day that Christopher Sutton was born.  A clearly emotional Judge Blake fought back tears as he delivered three consecutive life sentences and quickly left the courtroom.

-Jim Kyle, In Session Field Producer

Filed under: Sentencing • Verdict!

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Garrett W.   March 1st, 2011 4:21 pm ET

Defiance, rebellion and disrespect has its price. Chris Sutton deserved what consequence he cumulatively and ultimately earned. He will continue his reckoning efforts from prison. He is angry for being born and for the sheer abandonment at birth by anonymous parents.

marilyn   March 1st, 2011 4:23 pm ET

very sick boy it was justice.

Mary medeiros   March 1st, 2011 4:46 pm ET

I am ecstatic that Christopher Sutton was found guilty of all charges. He deserves everything he got and then some. His arrogant behavior on the stand while being cross-examined by the prosecution,showed us much of how he could be sooo hateful, just based on his "matter of fact" attitude. I could read into his testimony how very cruel, disrespectful and lack of concern he had for his parents and especially the heart-breaking/heart wrenching actions directed toward his mother. Mrs. Susan Sutton suffered in life with this child and the family now suffers in her death and Mr. John Sutton's blindness. I admire Mr. Sutton's positive attitude in light of everything that has happened.!

I have so much regret for all the loss Mr. John Sutton and Michelle have had to endure. I pray for this entire family every day. God Bless them. I wish I had an address to send them a card expressing my condolences.

Theirs in Christ,

Mary medeiros   March 1st, 2011 5:13 pm ET

I believe Christopher Sutton did groom Garrett Kopp for this murder. Christopher seemed to have people much younger than himself always hanging around. Garrett being a person not intelligent enough to ask for payment upfront or was convinced it was not necessary since both parents would be dead. I do not know if his girlfriend was younger but would not doubt that she is. I wish there would have been more testimony from Garrett Kopp, although he did testify to the same thing Mr. John Sutton saw which was what he was wearing black pants, black shirt, and black hat. Not to mention going out the front door, leaving it unlocked and Mr. Sutton trying to unlock the door actually locked it then had to unlock it.
Christopher also had Garrett in the apartment his Father had purchased, while Christopher was supposedly caring for his father after the shooting according to Mr. Sutton, he heard Christopher say to Garrett, "shhh don't let him hear you". I think much testimony that was left out should have been allowed.

Cathy Caulley   March 1st, 2011 6:15 pm ET

I believe the jury was made up with crazy people if they believe that Chris Sutton was proven guilty beyond the shadow of a doubt because there was no evidence that proved it. I don't believe he was guilty and I pray that God will have mercy on the souls of those jurors. How can you sleep at night knowing thay You may have sent an innocent man to jail for life x 3?

MARY   March 1st, 2011 7:03 pm ET

My faith in the justice systems is restored. Job well done jury.

Caroline   March 1st, 2011 9:33 pm ET

So, if you cannot or will not follow the rules and laws of a civilized society, you are placed in a cage. That is exactly where Chris S belongs. His parents did everything they could to help him turn his life around and, for their efforts, he murdered his mother and blinded his father. It seems to me, from everything I heard John Sutton describe, Chris was nothing but a thug. He may have even fancied himself to be some kind of romantic "gansta." Well, Chris, gangstas usually end up either in prison and/or dead. Chris, you will spend the rest of your life with no money from your parents to subsidize your lazy/do nothing lifestyle. You will no longer live rent free in a posh condo. You will not know the love, laughter, and comfort of your girlfriend. No more vacations to exotic locales. Instead, you'll spend your days and nights, for the rest of your life, surrounded by other monsters, some of whom who would enjoy hurting you. Your life will be totally regulated. There will be immediate and very real consequences for defying authority.
Your father will go on with his life with the courage and determination that moved many of us who watched the trial. Your sister will go on with her life, grateful for the adoptive parents who have provided her with a good life. Garrett, your stooge, will be free in 30 years or less to resume his life and attempt to salvage it in some way.
We will forget you. God have mercy on you.

beth   March 1st, 2011 9:43 pm ET

Well true to form his Dad showed no emotion or did he talk about his son-to me having Chris in prison forever is John's way of being RID of Chris forever. Its possible he arranged this but don't believe he did. Now that THE SHOW is over maybe John will wear an eye patch-I bet him being in court every day hurt his sons case.

Lisa in TN   March 1st, 2011 11:21 pm ET

This was the correct verdict and sentence for this monster. Anyone who could do this too their parents deserves no pity!

Jamie   March 1st, 2011 11:43 pm ET

I had been watching the Christopher Sutton trial when he was on the stand he acted like he was the victim not is family all I can say is he got what he deserved

Solomon   March 2nd, 2011 1:21 am ET

Christopher had to plant a seed of doubt in just one juror to get off. Instead, he made a very bad impression on the witness stand. I am convinced he is guilty. But, I don't think his lawyer helped him very much. Thats what happens when you do not have a lot of money; you get a lukewarm effort from the attorney. A case in point is the OJ Simpson murder trial.

sherry Belyeau   March 2nd, 2011 9:41 am ET

I missed the verdict on television, but am so thankful to this wbsite. I am very pleased with the verdict! It is very calming to know he was not set free to harm any one else that may of crossed him. I have so much faith in our system, and am very proud to be an American.

Catherine Adderley Mays   March 2nd, 2011 10:13 am ET

Mr. John Sutton, I pray for this entire family every day. God Bless your family. JUSTICE IS DONE! R.I.P Mrs Sutton

Sita Kulkarni   March 2nd, 2011 10:19 am ET

It just goes to show that one must check out the ancestry of a child that one adopts. This man Chris Sutton , may very well have been the product of rape, his father could have been a felon, or he could have come from a family of criminals or narcissistic sociopaths. As the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished.

Violet from Florida   March 2nd, 2011 10:35 am ET

He deserves death.

MR JOHNSON   March 2nd, 2011 10:38 am ET

I bet he wishes he was back at paradise island now.
Now he's going to know what it feels like to have some one plot his murder in prison.

Dee   March 2nd, 2011 11:10 am ET

Beth, what could John Sutton have said about his son? That he was as destructive a person that has ever walked the earth? That would have been a good start and then you would have had something else bad to say about Mr. Sutton. Face it – Chris is a sociopath who believes that everyone is dumber than he is and that his parents owed him everything he wanted. The only thing they owed him was to try to teach him how to behave in a civilized society. They tried and he didn't learn. His fault, not theirs.

If my son had tried to have us killed, I wouldn't want him around either and I sure wouldn't want to talk about him. AND just maybe, the eyepatch is not comfortable for Mr. Sutton. He should do it for you???? I don't think so.

Pat Northcott   March 2nd, 2011 12:39 pm ET

Once again justice has been served. Christopher Sutton was given a privileged life and opportunities that most of us can only dream of. His absolute greed and total lack of concern for life came through in his emotionless testimony.

suzan   March 2nd, 2011 12:55 pm ET

aloha chris sutton- i hope that you did learn this lesson that you will not be having your way at all. especially your bad attitude in jail in the state of flordia. lucky you did not killed your sister at all. shame on you chris that 2 people who took you in to their home and choise to take care of you w/ their kind ways but you chris did not like the rules that john and susan told you to do in their home. now you will be spending the rest of your life in jail for ever.

nan   March 2nd, 2011 2:25 pm ET

Wow. How sad.

dano   March 2nd, 2011 3:50 pm ET

I believe the Sutton's did all they could for Chris. He is just lacking something in his makeup to let him lead a normal productive life. I'm glad the jury found him guilty.

AbBy   March 3rd, 2011 10:04 am ET

Well if Chris hated the rules his parents gave him. I hope he likes the ones(rules) he will have in jail cause he has to follow them for the rest of his life. They will even tell him when he can shower, eat, go outside, etc. I guess he will learn to follow rules now because there will always be rules to follow no matter what. He had the chance to willingly follow simple rules that his parents gave him with a life style many of us would love but now he will forcefully follow rules in jail with a horrible life style. Chris you will have a lot of time to reflect on the biggest mistake you have ever made in your life and the privileges you have lost. Your family will move on with their lives and not have to worry about you anymore. I hope you have the chance to ask God to forgive you.

j.malbrough   March 3rd, 2011 10:48 am ET

I also miss the verdict,He was a the lazy good nothing,who prayed on Kopp..Somoa was a piece of cake,compared to where hes going.They ought to make him crack rocks for his dinner.They are waiting for you Chris,please follow the yellow line.Now he has no money for protection.Many people dont have the privilage to have wealth,and security like him,I feel for his family in this horrible event.What a low life,Now he will really see how the worst of the worst live! J. malbrough

Sue   March 3rd, 2011 10:49 am ET

I believe the attitude of Chris Sutton is what brought him down. Garrett's
testimony put Chris Sutton in the guilty block and he himself confirmed it belonged there. For the people whom believe he was not proven guilty there is something to be said for purity of heart but truth is the truth and thank God there are people who want physical evidence of his guilt but the closest you will get will be Garrett's testimony. Surely you can connect his friendship with Chris Sutton more than a mere coincidence that he would be the one to kill his mother and maim his father. Why would you believe that Chris Sutton was dirty enough to leave drugs in his parents home but not have him killed and that Garrett would go there to take them when Chris Sutton had his own condo to stash his dope in. The truth is the truth and I believe the truth is Chris Sutton never understood how to take not having it his own way. Prison will teach him humility and how lucky he was to have had a chance to have a good life. No matter how things looked to us as outsiders his life was never bad enough to make him want to do what he did I think it was in his genes.

God's grace to the Sutton family.

Jacqueline Fields   March 3rd, 2011 11:27 am ET

Sense of "I can do what I want" prevails with youngsters today. This is a wealthy family with an adopted monster...The depth of his rage could not be seen until it was too late.
He deserved death and so does the hit man. He was a terrible child who grew worse and exploded when he thought he was the victim.
Revenge controlled him and like many criminal minds, he was tricky.

dorothy   March 3rd, 2011 11:46 am ET

i have a son that i love dearly i could not handle him trying to kill me christopher deserved the death penalty

Mary Nesser   March 3rd, 2011 5:29 pm ET

As far as Christopher Sutton is concerned, he too is a smug, defiante brat who was born without a conscience. He got what he deserved.

Warren   March 3rd, 2011 6:17 pm ET

There WAS resonable doubt. I cant believe they found him guilty.
Even though I know he was guilty and got what he deserved.

Felicia In Missouri   March 4th, 2011 8:18 am ET

Im so glad for this website, I missed the verdict and was able to come here and read about it. I watched for a long time and wasn't exactly sure if I believed Chris Sutton was guilty. I seem to always try and see the good in people. As time went on and I listened to the testimony it just didn't seem right to me that EVERYONE else was telling a lie and Chris was telling the truth. He told anyone who listened that he hated his parents. I don't think that Kopp would have had any reason to come in and attempt to kill Chris Sutton's parents, not take any jewelry and just walk right in shoot them and leave. Surely if he was looking around for drugs the place would be torn apart and items would have been taken, John Sutton would have heard him in the house for awhile after he was shot, he lost his sight not his hearing. If Kopp would have remained in the house after shooting the Sutton's he would have clearly heard John making the 911 call and would have finished him off. This was part of what made me realize that Chris Sutton was in on it. Justice has been done in this case. My condolences to the Sutton's on all of their losses.

vivian   March 4th, 2011 9:47 am ET

perhaps he was simply a bad seed. i wonder about his birth mother and biological father. Did either have mental or drug problems. Did the Suttons give too much early before he began acting out. they sent him away to teach him discipline, then maybe tried to make for it by enabling him buying the condo for him to live there and give him an allowance. He had a sense on entitlement especially after being sent to somoa.

Gladys McDonald   March 4th, 2011 11:27 am ET

I love your program and watch as often as I can. I missed the sentencing of Christoper Sutton and am happy that the jury did the right thing. I, too, often had tears watching the father and family. YES, our justice system does work.

vaughn   March 4th, 2011 1:46 pm ET

They said Chris was gonna get the same as Garrett. Garrett will do 85% of 30 years if he behaves himself and Chris got 3 life sentences. doesn`t sound the same to me. In this case, all you could hear was the prosecutions side cause everything the defense said was objected to, so what did the jury have? All they had is what the prosecution presented.I`m surprised that Chris didn`t call the prosecutor something after he got sentanced for her calling him names while he was on the stand. I would have.

joy   March 4th, 2011 3:40 pm ET

i have been so busy that i couldn't see when the verdict came in ,and oh boy i wish i could have seen it. i am soooo glad they found him guilty. i agree with Mary his attitude showed exactly what kind of person he is..

Louise   March 5th, 2011 12:26 pm ET

Well, I am glad the trial is over! And, although Chris Sutton was found guilty, the lead prosecutor did a terrible job prosecuting him! She wasn't a very good prosecuting attorney. She didn't even know how to ask the witnesses questions properly. please tell me where did she earn her degree? Neither of them was a very good experienced proseutors, but the blonde one did a much better job. The lead proseutor kept objecting to every question that the defense atty. asked before hecould finish asking it. What was she afraid of? She needs to stepdown now! Chris Sutton showed no emotions during the trial. He was very cold, and he seen as if he just didn't care for his parents at all!! Adopting some kids are very dangerous! I remember once upon a time, my sister adoped a teenage girl; and she got too grown to take instructions from her mother. Her mother put her out of the house. And, regretfully to say, she burned-up three of her children. She also received three life sentences. This was in Detroit, Michigan. Chris may have participated in his parents demise, otherwise, how would Garrett have known about the broken glass sliding door? He did hate his parents for sending him to paradise Cove to learn some respect for his parents and for others. From what I could see from his trial, he just was a "spoil bratt" that just wanted lots of money, party, and just lived life the way he wanted to. Otherwords, what nut would want to pose for pictures laughing and having a good time regularly after the funeral of his mother? He really showed no concern or respect for his parents. We live in an Extremely Sad, Sad World! It is also extremely sad the way inwhich young people disrepect the ederly.

Judy   March 7th, 2011 4:41 pm ET

I do not believe the jurors found him guilty beyond a shawdow of a doubt. I do not believe he is guilty and I pray God will intervene and someday the real truth will come out and he will be freed. I felt really sorry for him and still do.

Tina   March 14th, 2011 8:55 pm ET

Just got done watching the verdict. Unbelievable that there was not a shred out of doubt in any juror's mind. I thought his testimony was forthcoming, he did not appear to be trying to circumvent questions. To say that he was mad at his parents because of his stint in Samoa was reasonable. What teenager would want that in their life? But to find him guilty of murder based only on that and absolutely not one shred of evidence, other than that of a convicted felon who he (Sutton) had set up at one time is unbelievable. Incomprehensible!!

Marilyn   March 15th, 2011 3:52 pm ET

Sutton got only half of what he deserved. I hope in death he will get
the other half. May he have a long life.

Carol   April 26th, 2011 12:11 pm ET

James Ray is reponsible why are you griling all these other people. Ms Doe is rude

ron w   July 13th, 2011 6:30 pm ET

casey anthony walks free and this guy gets 3 life sentences? i see alot more reasonable doubt in this case than hers

Bob   September 8th, 2011 10:16 am ET

This may sound cold but this case is a perfect example of the dangers of adoption. In fact, ramifications of adopting even a pet.
Having worked "in the system" I've seen too many damaged children turn into vengeful, resentful adults with a sense of entitlement. Most don't kill, but home is he*l. Some of that is because it used to be that people didn't talk about being adopted and there wasn't this compulsion to finding birth parents-which leaves a nagging feeling and questions in the mind of adopted children even if they don't desire or seek birth parents. Over the years a sympathy has developed for adopted children and even an odd sense of injustice from society in general. I do believe that this has translated into the twisted thinking of adopted children. Instead of feeling part of a family they are often left or forced to feel apart somehow, like something was done to them not for them.
Then, there is the true fact of bringing into one's home an unknown factor or risk (the adopted), which too many times ends up in the courts.
I've watched too many rescued infants already experiencing withdrawal, unnatural cravings, and disturbed psyches, too young and cute to be a danger. But, these cute babies grow up.

dolly   September 15th, 2011 11:33 am ET

yes Sutton is guilty as hell! If his life was so bad all he had to do was move, but no, he wanted money for drugs. Drugs are no excuse for the murder of his mother and blinding of his father! He hated them and wanted their money, how sad! Guilty guilty guilty and rot in jail for the rest of your life! and rot in the afterlife too.

Anon   October 15th, 2011 5:48 pm ET

Chris was found guilty as he should have been but my heart cannot help but hurt for him. I wonder what his biological parents were like. Did they have mental health issues? Drug problems? Anger management issues? I wonder if he was behind the 8-ball from birth. He was acting out even as a young child. RED FLAG right there. No amount of punishment helped. His anger was deeper than anyone guessed. And then to send him to that hell hole "paradise cove". It has long since been closed for horrible human rights violations. Look it up for yourselves. Children who were sent there have committed suicide, have terrible flashbacks, suffer from PTSD, etc. I would not wish it upon my worst enemy.

niko   November 27th, 2011 1:06 pm ET

he got what he deserved and imi happy with the verdict in this case no doubt. but for some of you to come and say your justice system works is a friggen joke!!

ROD   January 15th, 2012 6:59 pm ET

I hope Christopher is studying law while behind bars. He has a Good mind and a Strong case against the system. The police failed miserably; the judge admitted his bias and therefore should have recused himself; and what I saw of the trial was beyond contempt... or to quote niko: "a friggen joke!!"

ROD   January 15th, 2012 7:06 pm ET

... make that Beneath contempt.

sher   June 30th, 2012 1:53 pm ET

Thankyou Anon for pointing that out about Paridise Cove. My heart also hurts for him and every child that has ever been in that place or any of the other places like that, I know what he did was wrong but I do believe if he had gotten a different kind of help his life would have been better.I know his parents thought they were sending him to a good place and they thought it was best but those kids were being told that their parents knew about everything that was happening to them. Those parents had no idea that their children were being tortured and brainwashed!!

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