Plot to Kill Parents is
June 7, 2005
By: Scott Hiaasen
Four years ago, Christopher
Sutton asked a coworker how to go about hiring a hit man to kill his
Last summer, he talked about it
again -- just weeks before a gunman killed Sutton's mother and left
his father blind.
Court records released Monday
suggest that Sutton planned his parents' shooting in an effort to
collect their estate and satisfy a long-simmering resentment toward
them after they shipped him to a controversial youth-treatment
center in American Samoa.
Sutton, 26, was arrested in
April on charges that he conspired with a friend, Garrett Kopp, to
kill his parents. Investigators believe Kopp, 21, was the triggerman
who killed 57-year-old Susan Sutton and wounded John Sutton in the
couple's Coral Gables home on Aug. 22.
Sutton's girlfriend, Juliette
Driscoll, told police that Sutton talked openly about his desire to
have his parents killed. He assured Driscoll they would have plenty
of money once his parents were dead, Driscoll told police.
Just weeks before the shooting,
Sutton's father, a civil attorney, had settled a lawsuit for more
than $1 million, Driscoll said.
''He said that things will be
better when they're dead,'' Driscoll said. ``I knew that he was
planning to kill his parents, I just didn't know when.''
Sutton made similar comments
about his parents in 2000, while working at a plumbing company, said
former coworker Jose Peon Jr.
''I didn't sense any joking
around whatsoever,'' Peon said. ``He was dead serious.''
Driscoll said she met Sutton in
1999, just months after he returned from a traumatic 2 ½-year stint
at Paradise Cove, a rigorous facility for troubled kids in Samoa
that closed amid complaints of mistreatment by former residents,
according to news reports.
''He would tell me about being
beaten there, being hogtied,'' Driscoll said. ``He told me when he
was hogtied the Samoans would feed him with their feet.''
Sutton and Driscoll visited
Sutton's parents on the night of the shooting before going to a
movie. Driscoll said Sutton spoke on his cell phone with Kopp that
Prosecutors say Kopp confessed
to his role in the shooting, though the details of the confession
were not released. But after his arrest, Kopp told police he did not
recall talking to Sutton after the shooting.
Sutton's attorney could not be
reached for comment Monday.