03/09/06 — Stepfather gets life for 14-year-old's murder

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Stepfather gets life for 14-year-old's murder

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on March 9, 2006 2:01 PM

A stepfather was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison for the rape and murder of his 14-year-old stepdaughter last year.

Roger Lamonte Sutton, 33, of Hinnant Road, Pikeville, pleaded guilty to both charges in Wayne County Sup-erior Court. He said he had been addicted to cocaine when he fatally stab-bed Jonneka "Nikki" Spencer on June 27, 2005.

When given the chance to speak, Sutton turned to his wife, her brother and other relatives and friends and said: "I apologize for what I caused you from the bottom of my heart. I am willing to pay the consequences."

District Attorney Branny Vickory read a large portion of Sutton's written statement a month after the crimes. Sutton admitted that he took the girl from her home, drove her around, made her undress twice and then raped and stabbed her. Several audience members who broke down had to be escorted by bailiffs from the courtroom.

Tony Harris read the statement of his sister, Angeline Sutton, the girl's mother whose first husband and the girl's father had died.

"What you did do my daughter was horrific. You violated her body. You stabbed her and left her there. Why not me? Was it because I had a chance to fight back? I believed in you. I trusted you. ... What happened that night, Lamonte?"

Mrs. Sutton wrote that what Sutton had done was worse than robbing a bank. She said she could get her life back together, but "it won't be the same."

She said she would get no more calls from her daughter, hear her laughter, see her go to college, attend her wedding and be with her children.

"You took all this from me," she wrote. "My son wants to know why you did this to his sister."

Mrs. Sutton said the defendant should get a photo of her daughter in her coffin each year on June 27.

Defense lawyer Terry Alford of Spring Hope said Sutton showed remorse and was very upset. He read Sutton's letter about how he became hooked on cocaine and how the drug ruined his life.

The other defense lawyer, Bill Gerrans of Kinston, said Sutton let cocaine control him. He said Sutton had said he had it made, had a good job, a loving family and a good place to live, "and I blew it."

Sutton was arrested after making a 911 call. When Deputy Chuck Arnold arrived, Sutton told him to handcuff him because he might have murdered a girl. Sutton guided the deputy to woods off Church of God Road and found the body. When Sutton was interviewed by detectives, he said he wanted to die for taking a life.

Vickory said an autopsy showed the girl had five stab wounds to the chest.

The murder came less than three months after Sutton had assaulted a couple on Union Grove Church Road.

Vickory said the woman, Teresa B. McAllister, needed a month recover from stab wounds on April 6, 2005.

"She was lucky to alive," he said.

The knifings followed a night of drug use.

Vickory said Ms. McAllister and the other victim, her boyfriend, Michael Carl Collier, had moved and could not be located in time for Sutton's sentencing.

Sutton was arrested a day after the assault in LaGrange and charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill while inflicting serious injury. He posted bond and was released from jail.

Sutton also pleaded guilty to the two assaults and was sentenced to two consecutive terms of 45 to 63 months. The terms will run simultaneously with the life sentence.