NBC’s ‘Dateline: Blind Justice’ features how John Sutton narrowly survived an assassination attempt in his Coral Gables, Florida, home in August 2004. However, he tragically lost his wife to the attack and reminisced on the show about how the tragedy eventually broke his family. While Susan Sutton succumbed to her injuries, John was aghast to find their adopted son, Christopher Sutton, behind the hit on his parents. So, who is John, and where is he now? Let’s find out.
Who is John Sutton?
John R. Sutton has been licensed to practice law in the state since 1972 and has been a board-certified civil trial lawyer continuously since 1985. He and his spouse, Susan, adopted their first child, Christopher, in the late 1970s and their second child, Melissa, around seven years later. He and his partner, Teddy Monto, formed a very successful civil litigation firm. Miami-Dade Detective Rosanna Cordero said, “They had been very successful in their civil litigation business and had made some enemies along the way.”
He added, “In fact, John had had death threats against him.” So, when a masked perpetrator broke into the Sutton’s Coral Gables, Florida, home, on August 22, 2004, and killed Susan and critically injured John, the investigators initially suspected the individuals giving the threats. John Sutton, shot twice in the head, shockingly survived. Despite his massive head injuries, John somehow managed to call 911, and the emergency responders rushed him to a local trauma care center.
When John woke up in intensive care, he was blind. He lamented, “The magnitude of my injury, the facial pain, and the loss of eyesight were just so huge.” He added, “Everybody says it was somewhat of a miracle that I survived. I lost a tremendous amount of blood… They apparently gave me the last rites. They thought that I was gone.” Melissa Sutton was 18, a freshman in college. When she arrived at the hospital, she said her father was “almost unrecognizable.”
She quietly said, “The fact that I knew his hands, and I knew his ears and his skin tone, I could tell that this kind of disfigured person was my dad.” When asked whether he was puzzled about who assassinated his wife and attempted to kill him, John shared, “Yes, I certainly was. And I thought people were trying to kill me while I was in the hospital. I felt I wasn’t safe. I wanted to get out of there. It was one big mess.” Despite his critical health condition and loss of eyesight, the adamant husband still wanted to help the authorities solve his wife’s murder.
Miami-Dade Detective Rosanna Cordero said, “He remembered bits and pieces. He thought he remembered a figure at the door. He might be a black man or wearing all-black clothing… he was not sure.” However, the detective stated John’s “spotty memory” did not prove to be too helpful. The investigators soon found out his business partner, Teddy Monto, was having an illicit sexual relationship with Susan behind his back. John stated he was very upset when he learned about the betrayal.
Where is John Sutton Now?
The police made a breakthrough in the case in March 2005 with the arrest of Christopher Sutton and his friend, Garrett Kopp. John recounted how Christopher had been a difficult child, bunking schools and getting arrested after vandalizing a school teacher’s property. His parents had to change his school several times until they found a concerning note in his room in the mid-90s. Christopher, then 16, had written about killing his parents and taking their inheritance. Afraid of their son, they forcefully admitted him into a boarding school thousands of miles away.
After getting discharged from the hospital, John moved in with Christopher, and he alleged that his son tried to take over his bank account and control his finances. Hence, he was shocked when he learned Christopher was the mastermind behind the attack but refused to forgive him. He even went on to testify against him in his son’s 2010 trial. Before sentencing, an emotional John addressed the court and asked the jury not to show leniency. He said, “Regardless of the result, this is a bad case. I lost Susan. I lost Christopher long before that. I lost my eyesight …”
After Christopher was sentenced to three life terms without parole, John focused on getting his eyesight back. According to reports, he considered optic nerve regeneration at Skapens Eye Research Institute in Massachusetts as a promising choice. He even discussed electronic technology – implanting a device around the back of the eye with Dr. Joseph Rizzo of Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. While he waited for a breakthrough, John continues to practice law. According to reports, John memorizes his briefs and wins cases like old times with the help of an aide.
He reportedly also has a new love interest. He said, “It’s really almost like I’m another person. There are so many changes in my life.” When asked whether he felt sorry for himself, John stated, “Doesn’t do any good. I don’t believe in feeling for myself because then you’re just wallowing in disaster. However, he added that he would never forget his son for the heinous crime. In his 70s, John is the lead and founding attorney of his own Miami law firm and continues practicing law.
Read More: Where is Garrett Kopp Now?