Police say man admits running over girlfriend with SUV

By Alex Davis | adavis@wcia.com, Betty Simpson | bsimpson@wcia.com

Published 08/27 2014 01:41PM

Updated 09/24 2014 05:09PM

Latest: 3:45 pm, 9/24/14, Wednesday
MACON COUNTY -- A Decatur man faces decades in prison for murder with intent to kill. A coroner's jury ruled Tuesday 53-year old Janice Cole's death was a homicide. They believe she was intentionally run over by an SUV.

It happened in rural Niantic last month. 64-year old Eddie Sutters is the accused. He was out on bond for a domestic battery case at the time. Sutters faces three counts of first degree murder. If convicted, he faces 20 - 60 years. He's due in court again Thursday.
Latest: 10:03 pm, 8/27/14, Wednesday
MACON COUNTY -- Police say 53-year old Janice Cole was killed by her boyfriend. WCIA-3's Alex Davis finds out what happened.

Tuesday night, police found the body of Cole at the corner of Pit and Sable roads.

Sheriff Tom Schneider says, "This appears to be an individual that was involved in a domestic relationship at some point, with the deceased."

Cole was allegedly murdered by Eddie Sutters. The two were out riding in his SUV on Saturday, when, according to a sworn statement, Sutters punched Cole in the face, knocking her unconscious. That's when Sutters allegedly pulled Cole from his SUV and ran over her.

Schneider says, "The possible motive for the crime may be domestic violence-oriented."

But, Sutters didn't stop there. Police say he dragged Cole into tall weeds and left here there. It all happened just days before her 54th birthday. Investigators took Sutters into custody.

"We were able to go ahead and bring the investigations into one and identify a person of interest," says Schneider.

Wednesday, Cole's body was identified.

Macon County Coroner Michael Day says, "Given the circumstances, we thought it was necessary and prudent to forensically establish positive identification."

The forensic pathologist used radiological films and CT scans to ID her. The brutality of it all is leaving neighbors in fear. They say the area is notorious for illegal activity including dumping and trespassing, but this is a first for murder. They hope it's the last.

Schneider says, "Anytime you have a homicide like this, it's very troubling."

State and Decatur police are handling the investigation. Sutters' bail is $5 million.
Update: 3:35 pm, 8/27/14, Wednesday
MACON COUNTY -- The names of a victim and suspect charged with first degree murder have been released. Police say 64-year old Eddie Sutters confessed to killing 53-year old Janice Cole. Her body was discovered along Pit Road, in rural Niantic, about 5:20 pm, Tuesday.

Settles is being held on $5 million bond. Authorities say he told them he intentionally ran over Cole with his SUV. An autopsy was conducted and results revealed the cause of death was "multiple blunt injuries of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis consistent with a crushing type injury."
Original: 1:41 pm, 8/27/14, Wednesday
MACON COUNTY -- A person has been arrested for first degree murder. Tuesday, investigators responded to Pit Road, in rural Niantic, and found the body of a 53-year old resident of Decatur. Authorities determined the death was suspicious and unnatural.

The victim had been reported missing Monday. While determining the victim's identity, police were questioning a person of interest which led to the arrest of the 64-year old suspect. Officials say they believe the victim and suspect were previously involved in a domestic relationship.

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