The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


October 2, 2013

Suttle sentenced to 35 years in prison

A 31-year-old Raleigh County man will spend 35 years in prison for the fatal shootings of 16-year-old James Bell and 18-year-old Landon Williams.

Raleigh County Circuit Court Judge H.L. Kirkpatrick ordered Tuesday that Jessie Lee Suttle serve two concurrent terms of 35 years for each murder.  

Suttle entered a Kennedy plea, meaning that he does not admit guilt, but believes a plea agreement is in his best interest instead of going to trial, where he could potentially receive a life sentence.

On Nov. 22, 2011, the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department responded to a shooting on Mill Creek Road at Suttle’s residence, where he was throwing a birthday party for his brother.

Raleigh County Prosecuting Attorney Kristen Keller reviewed the evidence the state would present if the case had gone to trial.

She said although witnesses were under the influence of alcohol or other substances, it was determined that an argument broke out between Suttle and Williams. Allegedly, Williams struck Suttle’s brother, Matthew, then Suttle brought out a firearm. Suttle said he believed that Williams had a pipe or a wrench and he believed that Bell was going to attack him.

Williams was shot once in the neck and once in the chest with a .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle and Bell was shot once in the abdomen.

Keller said the evidence would not support a self-defense argument, but there is also the credibility of the witnesses to consider.

Defense attorney Douglas Buffington said, “This is a plea bargain in the greatest sense of the word. We would have liked to have a lesser sentence and I’m sure Mrs. Keller would have liked a greater sentence.”

It was noted that two psychiatric evaluations were performed on Suttle, which reported paranoid schizophrenia and alcoholism, but the doctor determined Suttle was competent to proceed to trial or enter a plea.

When Kirkpatrick asked Suttle if he wanted to say anything, he replied, “No.”

Williams’ older sister, Priscilla Beth Pennington, spoke on behalf of her family.

“He was murdered like an animal,” Pennington said through angry tears.

“He wanted to be a welder. All his dreams and ambitions were taken away by a happy trigger finger.”

Pennington also said that Williams has a 2-year-old son who won’t get to know his father.

She said this incident was caused by jealousy over a woman, the mother of Williams’ child.

One of Bell’s older sisters came to speak, also.

“It’s never going to be the same,” Dusty Hicks said.

She asked Suttle to look at her, but he remained facing the judge, with his head held low.

“He lived two and a half hours after you shot him. I hope you can live the rest of your life knowing you killed two babies.”

— E-mail:

Text Only
  • Starved Pennsylvania 7-year-old weighed only 25 pounds

    A 7-year-old Pennsylvania boy authorities described as being so underweight he looked like a human skeleton has been released from the hospital.

    July 22, 2014

  • Man pleads guilty in sexual abuse case

    In a complex plea hearing that involved a defendant pleading guilty to a three-count information, alleging one count of first-degree sexual abuse, and two counts of distributing obscene materials to minors, the court worked through the details of a plea that will expose Jonathan Edward Kirk to a possible 55-year prison term.

    July 22, 2014

  • Slayton inmate hurt in head-on collision

    A head-on collision in Nicholas County sent three Slayton Work Camp inmates to the hospital in Summersville Monday morning. A fourth inmate was flown to a Charleston hospital.

    July 22, 2014

  • Inmate on the run since May captured

    An inmate on the run since May was captured Sunday in Roanoke, Va., by an officer who observ-ed him riding a bicycle on a sidewalk with no tail light reflectors.

    July 22, 2014

  • Two in custody after allegedly beating Whitesville man

    Two men remained in Southern Regional Jail Monday morning after they allegedly beat up another man in his home in Whitesville. The West Virginia State Police would not release the name of the victim, who came to Raleigh General Hospital on his own.

    July 21, 2014

  • Impersonating an officer

    More details emerged Sunday from the Mercer County Sheriff Department’s investigation into a male subject who used a blue, bubble-style dash light to initiate a traffic stop of a female driver Friday night on Route 20 near Athens.

    July 21, 2014

  • Ronceverte police arrest three on drug charges

    Ronceverte Police arrested three people late last week in connection with alleged drug trafficking out of a Chestnut Street house.

    July 21, 2014

  • 2 killed, 2 injured in ATV wreck in Mingo County

    Police are investigating an all-terrain vehicle accident that killed two people and injured two others in Mingo County.

    July 20, 2014

  • tammy group Cold case: Sheriff’s office revives investigation into woman’s 1987 disappearance

    Like most mothers, Norma Hensdill of Piney View remembers the first time she saw her daughter.
    Hensdill’s due date was Oct. 15, 1962, which was her wedding anniversary. But the baby — a blue-eyed girl — was born Oct. 20, after an especially hard labor.

    July 20, 2014 3 Photos

  • Fayette County man is charged after dispute

    Fayette County Sheriff’s deputies arrested a Rainelle man who allegedly fired at a vehicle during an argument with another man Friday.

    July 20, 2014

AP Video
Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City
Web Extra