• John & Vivett Dukes

“I Will Never Stop Fighting For My Son’s Freedom!”: The Corey L. Sutton, Jr. Story

In August of 2017, I met Ms. A. Reddick at the Millions For Prisoner’s Rights March on Washington. She, like most people there, has a loved one incarcerated. In her case, it is her 20 year old son, Corey. L. Sutton, Jr.

Of all the stories of incarceration that I heard that day and since, Corey’s has stuck with me. Perhaps in the teacher in me that cries for him; or the mother in me — I, too, have a 20 year old son; or the fact that my husband was incarcerated when he was 25 years only and that seems exceptionally young to me when I reflect on how impulsive and foolish I was at that age. To be physically imprisoned since the tender age of 16 is a hell that hurts to even imagine, much less live.

The following is Ms. Reddick’s account of the horrific story of her son, Corey’s, incarceration.

On this day, January 15, 2018, the birthday of our beloved national hero of civil rights and humanitarianism Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I implore you to “Let Freedom Ring” in your hearts and minds by taking a moment to read and digest this mother’s vivid plea for her child whose civil rights and humanity are daily being stripped away as he rots in a prison cell in Florida for a crime both he and she contend he did not commit. 

His name is Corey L.Sutton Jr,14 years old from Lakeland,Fl. He was an honor student. Before he got Incarcerated, he got picked to study in 5 countries outside of the U.S. He spoke at our nation's capital at the age of 13. Corey played football for 9 years for the Lakeland Police Department. 

He was able to meet and speak with our senators in the community.

He was a big asset in the community and was well known and well-loved.

In March,2012, Corey’s image was placed all over the news for allegedly beating a woman at the Hyatt Hotel. He was 14 years old at that time and his image was placed on every news Channel in the local area and some other states. Corey Lee Sutton was charged as an adult and given a bond at $50,000, but the judge revoked the bond. A White girl killed her baby at the age of 14 a month later and was told they couldn't show her face because of her age. She got out of jail with a public defender and went home free in the same city. She and Corey went to school together. Corey’s case went through six lawyers and eight prosecutors. It took 2 years for him to get a discovery. He was questioned without parental consent and presence. 

He was under a controlled substance when he was questioned. He was not read his Miranda Rights. Corey was placed in shackles from his neck down when entering  courtroom — I had to fight to have them removed. At the age of 16 he lost his trial. No one was able to testify on his behalf or speak for him. His confession was coerced. At the age of 16, Corey was given 58 years for a nonhomicidal crime. He was placed in adult prison at age of 16 and he has been youngest in all the prisons he’s been in.

He has a tainted D.N.A. sample. He was not picked in the 6 man line up. He was not offered a plea deal. Evidence was at Corey’s case, but the prosecution refused to test it. The Police department told me that if he ran, they would kill him. Other witnesses told that he didn't commit  the crime, but they refused to use them. He had ineffective legal counsel. The woman Corey allegedly beat wanted the case dropped. His rights  were violated. His appeal was denied without a reason. My son Corey has been all over the state of Florida and I used to be able to see him every  week but now I can only see him once a month because they placed him so far away that he’s in a different time zone. His first day of prison, he was placed in cell with six grown men and they beat him. He was told he was going to youth camp and they never put him there. They denied his rights to go to school. Yet and still, Corey did receive his diploma in prison. He graduated second in a class of 150.

This case  has exhausted  my funds I lost a great deal of things trying to save my son. He has been messed up mentally, but he continues to try and stay strong. Prison has made him an angry person because he's been in prison for something  he didn't do. Corey has been in solitary confinement plenty of times. I had time fight to get him out of that environment before it killed him. On occasion, he was denied the rights to use the law library and I had to fight for his rights back. Guards have beat him for no reason. They took away his visitations on plenty of occasions. His mail had been tampered with. He’s housed in unsafe conditions. He been passing out from the heat. He's been getting sick from the food and water. I have to always send him money. In our city, little kids go to jail. His roommate, at one point, was six years old and they had eight year olds locked-up in there, as well.  He has watched so many people  get murdered in front of him. Since Corey’s been incarcerated, we have never celebrated his birthday or Christmas together because the correctional officers always lock him down during those times. He has to constantly fight to stay alive. Through all of this Corey remains humble and hopeful. This case has giving me a lot of health problems  I now have high blood pressure which has damaged my vision and my weight has fluctuated, as well . I have to work two full time jobs just to maintain. I'm a single parent. Speak Ya Truth, I appreciate you publishing Corey’s story so much. I know some of this is out of order but there’s so much that has gone on, I can go on forever. I'm so glad you were a listening  ear for me and my son cause a lot of people have turned me away. I have had to leave the state of Florida in order for some people to listen to us . I will continue  to fight for my son's freedom. 

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