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Man sentenced in nursing home death

Enon man set fire that led to woman’s death from emergency evacuation.

An Enon man was sentenced to six years in prison for setting fire in a nursing home that resulted in the death of an 89-year-old resident.

Cody Sutton accepted a plea agreement in November that allowed him to admit to a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter. Previously, he was facing one count of murder and two counts of arson in the death of Kathleen Hart, 89.

Hart died after a cardiac episode that she suffered during an evacuation of the Daysrping of Miami Valley nursing home at 8001 Dayton-Springfield Road on Nov. 25, 2011. The facility was evacuated because of a fire in a storage room, which Sutton admitted to setting. According to the autopsy, the heart issues were directly related to the stress Hart suffered during that evacuation. She died at Miami Valley Hospital.

Hart was a mother and grandmother. Her family in Illinois told the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office that although she had cancer, Sutton had no right to take her life.

“They have lost a loved one because this defendant chose the time and place where she was going to die,” said Clark County Prosecutor Andy Wilson.

Sentencing was scheduled for Nov. 29 but was postponed when Judge Richard O’Neill ordered Sutton undergo a psychological evaluation because he couldn’t explain why he set the blaze. He was held in the Clark County Jail without bond until Friday. The evaluation indicated Sutton has substance abuse problems, notably with marijuana and pills, and needed counseling.

Sutton apologized to the Hart family, as well as his own, for his actions.

“I know had I not been using drugs, then none of this terrible tragedy would have happened and Ms. Hart would still be here with us,” he said.

While Sutton showed remorse, O’Neill said the seriousness of his actions warranted prison time. He faced up to 11 years in prison for the charge. In addition to the six-year prison term, he will be on probation for five years once he is released.

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