A 22-year-old man was sentenced yesterday to life in prison and his chief accomplice was given 30 years behind bars in the execution-style slaying of a father of four young children on a Cherry Hill playground two years ago.
Calling the killing of Dwight R. Love, 28, a "cold-blooded murder," city Circuit Judge John M. Glynn offered no other commentary as he sentenced Kenneth G. Sutton to life in prison and an additional 20 years for shooting Love on Jan. 29, 2001.
Sutton was convicted in January of first-degree murder and handgun charges by a Baltimore jury. He said little before or after the sentencing, except to tell the judge that he had not committed the crime.
Sutton's accomplice, Korey Mable, also 22, received a lighter sentence, 30 years in prison. Prosecutors alleged at trial that Mable handed Sutton the murder weapon, a handgun, and buried it after the shooting.
Convicted of second-degree murder in December, Mable said yesterday that he didn't deserve a lengthy term because the jury had erred in finding him guilty. He also said that he had lied when he told detectives that Sutton, a close friend, had been the gunman.
"I lied out of fear," Mable said. "This man didn't do it."
Love's mother, Arlene Gordon, broke down halfway through reading a victim-impact statement about the loss of her son. She began crying and thrust a large photograph of Love at Sutton and Mable.
"This was my Dwight," she said, shaking the photograph. "You shot him like a dog. ... He was not an animal. You killed my son."
One of Love's four children also stood up to testify. But his 4-year-old daughter could not speak and grabbed her aunt's leg before walking back to the courtroom's gallery.
Love, a chef, was returning home from a 12-hour shift when he took a shortcut through a Cherry Hill apartment complex.
He walked past Sutton, Mable and several other young men hanging out on the back porch of an apartment. A short argument erupted between Love and Sutton. As Love walked away, Sutton grabbed a handgun from Mable and shot Love four times. He then stood over the fallen man and shot him twice more.