NBC’s ‘Dateline: Blind Justice’ depicted how Christopher Sutton hired a hitman to murder his adoptive parents inside their Coral Gables, Florida, residence in August 2004. While John Sutton survived the near-fatal assassination attempt but lost his eyesight, Susan Sutton succumbed to her injuries. The investigators solved the crime fairly quickly but were surprised to learn about the alleged motive behind the murder. If you’re interested in finding out more about the case, including where Christopher is now, we’ve your back. Let’s begin then, shall we?
Who is Christopher Sutton?
Christopher P Sutton was born on April 13, 1979, and he was adopted by John and Susan Sutton two days after his birth. The Suttons adopted another child, Melissa, and Susan loved the children unconditionally. However, dark secrets lurked behind the ‘normal’ family facade that would destroy the Suttons forever. On August 22, 2004, the Suttons were celebrating John’s litigation firm’s success and Susan’s late birthday. Christopher, his then-fiance, and Teddy Montoto attended the party.
Hence, it came as a shock when John called 911 late at night to report he and his spouse had been shot while sleeping inside their residence. Susan was assassinated, while John managed to survive his critical injuries. The police learned John’s successful law firm meant he had many enemies and attracted several threats. Police investigated every one of the threats — including John’s law firm partner Teddy Montoto — but they all had alibis.
Miami-Dade Lead Detective Larry Belyeu said, “It was at that point that I started interviewing some of John’s closest friends.” The investigators were surprised when one name kept coming up. Larry recalled, “They said, ‘You need to look at Christopher Sutton.’ I said, ‘Christopher Sutton, the son?’ ‘Absolutely.'” The police were taken aback when people pointed fingers at Christopher, then 25. Christopher seemed the devoted son — always by his father’s side, and John even moved in with him after he was discharged from the hospital. But police soon started learning sinister stories about Christopher.
Susan’s sister, Mary Marier, recalled, “He and some other kids broke into a teacher’s house and trashed the inside of the house and spray painted the inside of the house.” John recalled how his son’s shenanigans led to Christopher’s arrest, the family being sued, and having to pay an estimated $50,000 in damages. In an earlier interview, Christopher was asked whether he was an out-of-control teenager.
Christopher replied, “Out of control? I mean, I wanted to do my own thing… I was definitely into body piercings and tattoos – things my parents hated, but… I wasn’t doing anything wrong.” But his family recounted how Christopher suffered from anger management issues and always got furious when things did not seem to go his way. Mary recalled one incident where he had even pointed an unloaded rifle at Susan and his sister, Melissa, and threatened to shoot them.
Where is Christopher Sutton Now?
However, Christopher’s friend, Eric Polk, alleged his friend’s parents, the Suttons, tended to overreact. Eric contended, “His parents, to me, always seemed a little bit harsh on him.” John recalled how they were forced to send Christopher, then 16, to boarding school after they reportedly found a note inside his room. Marier recounted, “It was a plan to kill his parents for the inheritance.” John recalled how Christopher claimed he “was just kidding” when his parents confronted him about the note.
However, John stated they were frightened of him and wanted him out of the house. According to reports, they even obtained restraining order against their 16-year-old son. Eric recounted how he invited Christopher to stay with his family until two men came to get him three weeks later. Eric said, “They were trying to wrestle him across my lawn.” The Suttons had sent their son to Paradise Cove – a boarding school in Paradise Cove. The boarding school was infamous for its hardcore behavior modification program for troubled boys.
Former resident students recalled the alleged torturous methods the school authorities often resorted to. A year later, Christopher sent an emotional video message to his parents — “All right, Mom and Dad…. wanted to tell you I don’t feel like you guys love me… I feel like I’ve been sent here to get me out of your hair… You guys still dislike me for some reason. Even though my wishes aren’t to be here, they don’t come true.” According to reports, Christopher hoped to leave the dreaded place permanently when he turned 18.
However, John got a court order to keep him there for another year. The police started pondering whether Christopher was angry enough to take revenge on his parents. Mary supported the hypothesis, claiming Christopher knew about details of the shooting that were not released in the public domain. However, the detectives discovered surveillance footage of him and his then-fiance, Juliette Driscoll, watching movies at the time of the crime.
Christopher said in the interview, “I cried. I couldn’t believe it. You know, I was in shock. It doesn’t even seem real that it could have even happened.” However, his schemes were exposed in March 2005 when a woman reported to the police that she suspected her ex-boyfriend, Garrett Kopp, was involved in Susan’s murder. He was already a suspect after the police had found his number popping up in Christopher’s call records more than 300 times in the weeks leading up to the murder. Juliette also testified how he looked for someone to kill his parents.
The police arrested Christopher on March 26, 2005, and he went on trial for attempted and first-degree murder charges in July 2010. Garrett and his father, John, testified against him. According to Garrett, Christopher had recruited him to kill his parents as revenge for his time at Paradise Cove. As a result of his testimony, Garrett was awarded a 30-year plea deal, while Christopher was convicted and sentenced to three life terms without a chance of parole. According to reports, the 44-year-old is serving his sentence at the Walton Correctional Institution.
Read More: Where is John Sutton Now?