A Corbin man will serve 30 years in prison for four counts of interstate murder-for-hire and one count of possession of firearm(s) by a convicted felon.
William Timothy Sutton, 55, was sentenced to 360 months of incarceration on Wednesday after he attempted to hire a fellow inmate to murder the Whitley County Attorney, the Whitley/McCreary County Commonwealth’s Attorney, and two ex-girlfriends.
U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove presided over Sutton’s sentencing.
Assistant United States Attorney W. Samuel Dotson, requested Sutton be required to serve a maximum sentence of 600 months, 50 years. Dotson also asked the court to remember that Sutton had never accepted responsibility for the actions and thus the court should not accept Sutton saying, “I’m sorry” and then asking for mercy.
Defense attorney, Willis G. Coffey, requested Sutton only be required to serve 120 months, 10 years.
Van Tatenhove sentenced Sutton to 30 years after hearing from Whitley County Attorney Bob Hammons and Sutton.
Van Tatenhove also stated that mental health services would be provided to Sutton.
Hammons recalled listening to the tape during trial that recounted Sutton explaining details about Hammon’s farm, how to kill Hammons and where the gun could be located.
Hammons said he felt like, “I was in prison.” His children and grandchildren rode horses and practiced on the farm where the murder would have taken place.
Hammons said he still doesn’t know why. He never tried Sutton in court and even refused to write warrants against him at times.
He, “spent years trying to be fair and this is the thank you I get, I guess,” Hammons said.
Sutton addressed the court, explaining that he had been thrown into a cell with six other people and was forced to commit these acts or else he would have been killed.
Sutton explained that John Combs, one of his cellmates, was the true mastermind behind the plot and that Combs would have killed him if Sutton exposed the plan.
Sutton said he tried to tell the security guards on multiple occasions, but was unfruitful in his attempts. He stated that he stayed awake for 13 or 14 days drinking coffee because he was scared for his life.
Sutton stated, “I am the victim in this.” He talked about how before he was taken into custody he, “worked 20 to 21 hours a day seven days a week.”
Sutton concluded by saying, “I have already forgiven everybody who lied on me.”
Van Tatenhove listened to Sutton’s explanation of the crimes and said, “It’s almost as if you weren’t here during the trial.”
“We protect our public officials,” said Van Tatenhove. “The public will be safer during your period of incarceration.”
When Van Tatenhove told Sutton that he was sentenced to 360 months, Sutton responded, “I am going to die.”
Sutton remained in custody after the sentencing.