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
  • Thief smashes AccessHealth Daniels' clinic's door

    July 28, 2014

  • tunnel firefighters Bluefield firefighters first ones on the scene

    Lights in the southern end of the tunnel illuminate an odd design beside the catwalk near the left lane of the northbound tube of the East River Mountain Tunnel that transports I-77 from Virginia into West Virginia. Two firefighters who made the initial assault through the total darkness of the soot and smoke-filled tunnel left those marks as they slid their arms along the catwalk wall on their journey back to the light.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • tunnel Fire closes I-77 for hours

    East River Mountain Tunnel was engulfed in a cloud of black smoke Friday as a result of a tractor-trailer fire inside the tunnel that ignited just after 3 p.m.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sen. Manchin, brother sued by another brother for $1.7 million

    A $1.7 million civil lawsuit has been filed by John Manchin II against his brothers, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin III and Roch (Rock) Manchin.


    July 26, 2014

  • Family members charged in alleged mob beating

    A local family allegedly worked together to beat a man with sticks, boards and metal pipes, according to a criminal complaint from Monroe County Magistrate Court.

    July 26, 2014

  • Jury trial set in Bob Graham case

    Robert E. “Bob” Graham, the former executive director of the Wyoming County Council on Aging and All-Care Home and Community Services Inc., will be back in U.S. District Court in Bluefield this October for a trial to recover consequential damages for aggravation and inconvenience from National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh, Pa., the insurance company that provided him coverage when he served as director of the two agencies.

    July 25, 2014

  • Two waive hearings in Wyoming court

    Keith Tex Hatfield, 25, of War and Pineville, appeared in Wyoming County Magistrate Court Wednesday for a preliminary hearing on felony charges of escape, attempted robbery, grand larceny and transfer of stolen property, according to Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Sante Boninsegna Jr.

    July 25, 2014

  • Three arrested after hit-and-run, foot pursuit

    hree Mercer County men were arrested following a vehicular pursuit Wednesday that started when patrolmen with the Bluefield Police Department spotted a vehicle wanted in a hit and run entering the Bluefield State College campus, and ending with a foot pursuit.

    July 24, 2014

  • Cyclist injured in accident

    A cyclist was injured on a trail near the Gauley River when she fell from her bike to avoid a tree branch.

    July 24, 2014

  • Errant prank at Little General store sends Rock Creek man to jail cell

    A prank gone wrong sent one person to jail and another to the hospital, according to a criminal complaint filed in Raleigh County Magistrate Court.

    July 24, 2014

AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Web Extra