Criminal Justice

Blinded Lawyer Testifies Against His Son at Trial Over His Wife's Murder

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A lawyer who was blinded after being shot along with his wife at their South Florida home in 2004 in an alleged contract hit testified today against his 31-year-old son at a conspiracy trial over his wife’s murder and his own attempted murder.

John Sutton described a troubled relationship with his son—who prosecutors portray as being angry about being sent away to a boarding school in Samoa for children with behavioral problems—as well as awakening to find an intruder shooting at himself and his wife as they slept, NBC Miami reports.

“In an instant, Bam! I woke up and I was on the floor,” the father testified.”I knew I was in big trouble.” Although shot in the face several times, Sutton survived the attack.

His admitted assailant, Garrett Kopp, is serving a 30-year term and has also testified at the trial. The government contends Christopher Sutton let Kopp into the home and contends that he hoped to inherit from his wealthy parents as a result of their deaths, according to the NBC blog and the Miami Herald.

The defense in the conspiracy-to-murder case argues that Kopp concocted the story about being let in to avoid the death penalty and says he broke in on his own seeking money and drugs.

“He just didn’t have enough money to live the lifestyle he wanted,” Kopp said of Christopher Sutton when he testified last week, the Miami Herald reports in an earlier article.

John Sutton says he is still upset that he wasn’t able to attend his wife’s funeral. As he was escorted from the courtroom after his testimony, he couldn’t see that his son didn’t look at him, reports CBS 4.

Among the evidence against his son is testimony by a Miami-Dade homicide detective that cellphone records show Kopp and the defendant called each other hundreds of times, and spoke repeatedly on the day of the shootings.

The prosecution said in court filings that Christopher Sutton had been threatening since 1996 to make his parents pay for sending him to the Samoan school, reports the Miami Herald in an article published within a year or so after the killings.

Related coverage: “Teen Son Gets Life in Murder of His Dad, a Md. Lawyer, Mom & 2 Brothers”

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