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Hopewell man responds to being named person of interest in 10-year-old cold case

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HOPEWELL, Va. -- A Hopewell cold case is heating up as police have named a person of interest in a 10 year old murder mystery.

Police are calling Michael Sutton a person of interest in the September 11, 2006 murder of James Edmonds, who was his neighbor at the Cornez Manor apartment complex in Hopewell.

Sutton is currently behind bars in Virginia Beach on unrelated weapons charges.

Police in Hopewell are hoping DNA evidence will help them charge Sutton after filing a search warrant for his DNA on March 24.

CBS 6 sister station WTKR spoke with Sutton in Virginia Beach to get thoughts on being named a person on interest in Edmonds' death.

Michael Sutton

Michael Sutton

"When the fat lady sings they're going to find they are dead wrong," Sutton said. "I didn't do it, I don't know who did. I didn't even know he was stabbed."

Police said Edmonds suffered stab wounds to his neck and head. His apartment was also set on fire.

“Me and James were casual neighbors, casual acquaintances,” said Sutton. “We used to talk, he let me use his computer. That’s about it.”

Sutton said he was interviewed three times when the crime happened, but hadn’t heard anything else about it until now.

WTKR reports court records show Sutton was considered a suspect at time after a witness said she saw him leaving minutes before the building’s fire alarm get off with something in his arms.

The court records state Sutton admitted being the last person to have seen the victim alive.

James Edmonds

James Edmonds

Sutton said he might have seen the victim that day, but left the apartment way before the crime happened.

The case has been cold for a decade.

But the crime has stayed on the minds of those who lived through it, many forced from their own home when the flames spread.

"Wonder who had done it and why they would do him like that because he was a pretty good guy," George Pope, who lived at the complex and knew Edmonds.

Cornez Manor apartment complex in Hopewell

Cornez Manor apartment complex in Hopewell

 

In the jailhouse interview Sutton repeated he was not involved in Edmond’s murder or the fire.

However, Hopewell police said they have enough new information to re-open the case, with the hopes of closing it with a conviction.

"If I did it do you think they ever would've let me go?" Sutton said.