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A New Jersey Woman Returned Home Late to Find Her Marine Husband Shot. Who Was Responsible for His Death?

navy cold case
Source: Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office; Unsplash

May 13 2024, Published 10:03 a.m. ET

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A Marine stayed home as his wife and daughter went to nearby Philadelphia for a late-night Chinese food run. When they got back, the military member was shot dead and there were no signs of forced entry.

But who was responsible? That remains a mystery 30 years later.

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On Nov. 14, 1992, U.S. Marines Master Gunnery Sgt. James Sutton was murdered in his New Jersey home, according to the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office. He was found around 12:50 a.m. after his wife and daughter returned home from a restaurant.

Sutton's body was in the lower level of the home and shot numerous times, prosecutors said. There were no signs of forced entry into the residence but the front door was ajar, reported.

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Former prosecutors told in 2011 that shell casings were littered in a trail from the door to the couch where the victim was found. That led officials to believe the killer fired over and over while walking toward the victim. Police didn’t know if Sutton was asleep when he was shot.

Investigators tested his wife’s hands for gunshot residue, but the results were never released, according to

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According to, a source once claimed that the victim’s wife left with her daughter around 11 p.m. to pick up the food. But the wife returned before leaving and said she forgot her purse. Then they headed to Philadelphia. Less than two hours later, the murder was reported.

There have been no arrests in the case, and authorities have not released suspect information.

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“The passage of time can help, in that relationships change over the years, and people with information sometimes become more willing to share knowledge than when first interviewed,” then Det. Joan Krucinski told in 2011. “We are always interested in anyone who knew the victim. Some people may not even know they have critical information.”

Anyone with information on the Marine’s killing is asked to contact police at (856) 384-5531 or (202) 433-9210.


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