A Sept. 19 trial has been scheduled in U.S. District Court in London for a Corbin man, who is charged in an alleged murder-for-hire scheme where two of the four would-be victims are Whitley County prosecutors.
A court appointed attorney entered a not guilty plea for William Timothy Sutton, 54, during his arraignment July 19 in federal court to four counts of using the mail or a facility of interstate commerce with the intent that four individuals be murdered in exchange for a promise and agreement to pay another to commit the murders, and to possessing the four firearms and ammunition after having been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.
Assistant United States Attorney Samuel Dotson told Magistrate Judge Hanley Ingram that the trial is expected to take five days to complete.
Ingram informed Sutton during the hearing that because of his two pending matters in Whitley County that he would be held in custody for the time being.
Ingram explained that if those matters are resolved then Sutton could request to be released on bond in this case, and the government would have to establish why he should be detained pending trial.
“Until those state court matters are resolved, I am unable to release you,” Ingram told Sutton.
According to Whitley Circuit Court Clerk records, Sutton has a violation of a Kentucky E.P.O./D.V.O. charge pending in district court. It is set for trial on Oct. 4. Whitley County Attorney Bob Hammons has disqualified himself from prosecuting the case.
Sutton also has a probation revocation hearing scheduled for Aug. 7 in Whitley Circuit Court concerning a 2015 intimidating a participant in the legal process charge. Jackie Steele is serving as special prosecutor in that case.
On July 18, Sutton was transferred from the Whitley County Detention Center to the Grayson County Detention Center where he is listed as “federal prisoner held in transit.”
Sutton appeared in federal court on July 19 wearing a green jail jump suit, handcuffs and leg irons.
During the arraignment, Ingram explained to Sutton that he could receive up to 10 years in prison on each of the five counts in his indictment, and that the sentences in the murder-for-hire case could run consecutively, or one after the other, which means Sutton could receive up to 40 years in prison just on those charges.
Sutton said little during the hearing, except to answer “Yes, sir” to various questions from the judge.
Sutton’s federal indictment identifies the victims only by their initials, which are A.T., B.H., T.S. and S.B.
Kentucky State Police Trooper David Lassiter testified during an April 3 preliminary hearing in Whitley District Court that his investigation revealed that Sutton, who had been housed in the Whitley County Detention Center since Aug. 22, tried to hire another inmate in his cell, John Combs, to kill Commonwealth’s Attorney Allen Trimble, Whitley County Attorney Bob Hammons, Tara Smith and Stephanie Broyles.
Broyles is the complaining witness in a violation of an E.P.O. case against Sutton. Smith is involved in a child support case involving Sutton.
Lassiter testified that Combs wore a recording device and recorded two conversations with Sutton on different dates that “outlined the plan and who the intended victims were.”
Lassiter said that Sutton allegedly offered Combs $10,000 per person, or a total of $40,000, to kill the four individuals, and that he was willing to supply the firearm.
Sutton sent out a letter to a family member facilitating the arrangement of a firearm to be used in the killings, Lassiter testified.
“He told me when he sent the letter that he meant to have all four killed,” Lassiter testified.
Police took possession of both the letter, and the firearm, which was located at a Corbin area business, where Sutton’s letter stated that it would be found.
Lassiter said that Sutton used to work at the business, and he had family members that owned it.
Police found the gun in question in the back part of the building under some shelving units in a gun case. Lassiter said there were multiple guns in multiple cases.