DECATUR – Eddie Sutters of Decatur will likely spend the rest of his life in prison after he pleaded guilty Tuesday morning to first-degree murder. The charges allege he intentionally ran over 53-year-old Janice Cole with his SUV in the summer of 2014 in a rural area west of Decatur.
Sutters, 67, will receive a sentence of 20 to 60 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections, to be determined by Circuit Judge Thomas E. Griffith at his sentencing hearing, scheduled for May 31.
The sentence will be served at 100 percent.
As Sutters stood before the judge's bench, dressed in a black-and-gray striped jail jump suit and wearing orange plastic flip-flops, Assistant State's Attorney Regan Radtke presented the factual basis of the case.
She said that on or about Aug. 26, 2014, police responded to the report of a deceased woman, found in the weeds at the intersection of Pit Road and Sable Road. It was determined that the cause of her death was consistent with being run over by a vehicle.
When he was interviewed by police, Sutters admitted that “between 12:30 and 1:30 a.m. he punched Janice in the face, causing her to pass out,” Radtke said. “He said he later ran her over. He advised that he aimed for her neck and back with the intention to kill her. He then dragged her into the weeds and left.”
At the time of this homicide, Sutters was out on bond in a domestic battery case in which Cole was the victim. Sutters was charged with hitting her in the face with a closed fist on March 1, 2014, causing her to lose hearing in her left ear. That case will be dismissed by the state as a result of the murder conviction.
Sutters was represented by Assistant Public Defender Karen Root.
Sutters has 14 prior convictions, dating back to a felony case in Cook County in 1965. He has served prison terms for armed violence, manufacture/delivery of cocaine and violation of bail bond.
He has been held in the Macon County Jail on $5 million bond since his most recent arrest.