Defendant dies three days before trial

Five years after indictment, a man accused of multiple accounts of sexual abuse has died just three days before his May 9 scheduled jury trial.

John E. Sutherland, 74, of Corbin, faced a total of 24 counts of sexual abuse, sodomy and incest.

Most recently, Judge Michael Caperton held a pretrial conference on May 7 in the Knox County Circuit Court, which Sutherland was not present for. The court then learned that Sutherland passed away the day before. As a result, Sutherland’s case was dismissed without prejudice by the Commonwealth, with the trial date cancelled.

“The victims in this case have been adamant from day one about seeking justice. Unfortunately, the Commonwealth and the courts were unable to do that due to issues that caused postponements at previous trail dates,” said Commonwealth Attorney Jackie Steele. “With the death of Mr. Sutherland, I believe that he is being judged by someone greater than himself and I hope the victims find justice in that.”

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