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Inside the Evidence: 1961 homicide in Wayne County

Nikki Rudd
Updated: February 26, 2020 11:28 PM
Created: February 25, 2020 10:01 AM

ONTARIO, N.Y. (WHEC) — News10NBC is taking you inside the evidence of one of the oldest unsolved homicides still being investigated by New York State Police (NYSP).

It dates back to 1961 in the Town of Ontario, Wayne County. It's a case that shocked our community just days before Christmas. 

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John Sutton, 16, was beaten and shot at a service station on Route 104. His sister, Helen Schwieger, still lives nearby.

"Did you think, how could something like this happen here?" News10NBC's Nikki Rudd asked. 

"Oh yes," Schwieger said. "Everybody thought that I'm quite sure." 

John Sutton was a junior at Wayne Central High School. 

"He's working at a gas station at 7 o'clock at night in December," NYSP Investigator Eric Fuenfstueck said.

It was Dec. 15, 1961. Clark's Esso Service Station on Route 104 in Ontario was the scene of the crime. Fuenfstueck showed News10NBC pictures from the investigation never released before. 

"This is the room where they found John sitting right on the floor next to the shelf here," Fuenfstueck said. 
 
John had been hit in the head with a blunt object and then shot in the top of the head. 

"It's a shock, you know? Why? Why him? What did he do to this person that they had to actually kill him? Shoot him. why?" Schwieger asked. 
 
"Do you have any idea who could have killed your brother?" Rudd asked. 

"No ma'am, I do not," Schwieger replied. 

And nearly 60 years after the crime neither do State Police. Investigators say robbery was the motive. 

"There was money missing from the cash register along with a couple pay envelopes," Fuenfstueck said.

The total? Around $200. John had been working at the service station part-time. It's now a Safelite AutoGlass shop. The night of the murder John was there all alone as the owner went home for dinner. 

"Around the time of the incident there was a white male at the location about 35 to 40 years old, about six foot tall, 175 pounds," Fuenfstueck said. 

State Police say that man was wearing a white shirt, dark trousers, a dark fedora and black gloves. His car was described as a late 1950s vehicle, possibly a Plymouth.

It was in a bay getting work done. Witnesses say the car was dark in color and had fins. It also had license plates that were dark green with white letters. Fuenfstueck says they could have been Ohio plates. 

"All we have to go on is that vehicle and that guy right now," Fuenfstueck said. 

The gun used in this crime was never recovered, but NYSP has a shell casing and a round still in evidence. 

Schwieger wants whoever killed her brother brought to justice. If you have any information on the man last seen at the service station on Route 104 in Ontario in December of 1961 call NYSP Investigator Eric Fuenfstueck at 585-398-4123.  


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