New Madrid man sentenced to life in prison for role in 2006 death

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A New Madrid man was sentenced to life in prison for his role in a 2006 death.

Cornelius A. Sutton, who was found guilty by a jury in October for the Aug. 25, 2006, beating death of Charles Toler, was sentenced to 15 years in prison on the charge of first-degree manslaughter. The sentence is the maximum that can be imposed on the charge.

Judge William Syler ordered a life sentence, also the maximum which can be imposed, on the charge of first-degree robbery and 30 years on a charge of first-degree burglary for Sutton, who is considered a prior and persistent felon. The three sentences are to run consecutively and consecutive to another case against Sutton.

New Madrid Prosecuting Attorney Lewis Recker had sought the maximum sentences on the three counts after the jury returned the guilty verdict for involuntary manslaughter. The state originally had sought a felony murder conviction.

"I was certainly pleased with the judge's sentencing," Recker said. "Judge Syler obviously followed our request."

The 70-year-old Toler was found bound and beaten to death in his home after friends asked police to conduct a "well-being check." Sutton was arrested some five days later following an investigation by the major case squad.

The trial was conducted in Cape Girardeau County before Syler following a change of venue from New Madrid County.

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