A wealthy couple is targeted for death - but why?

Was a son behind the assassination of his mother and shooting of his father?

The Polynesian Islands of Samoa, in the South Pacific Ocean, is nearly 7,000 miles from the Miami home where Susan and John Sutton were viciously attacked.

Police say what happened in Samoa more than 15 years ago, may hold the clue to solving the case.

When he was just 16, John and Susan Sutton sent their son away to a behavioral school in Samoa; Christopher, they say, had been getting into lots of trouble.

"We were told that there was oppositional defiant disorder or conduct defiant disorder. Those sorts of things," said John.

Christopher was in and out of more than half a dozen schools.

"I was routinely driving him to school, dropping him off at the front door and he was routinely going out the back door and doing other things," said John.

Skipping school though, was the least of their problems.

"He and some other kids broke into a teacher's house and trashed the inside of the house and spray painted the inside of the house," said Susan's sister, Mary Marier.

"He was arrested. We were sued," John said of the damage that was "perhaps more" than $50,000.

Asked if he was an out of control teenager, Christopher told Troy Roberts, "Out of control? I mean, I definitely wanted to do my own thing... I was definitely into body piercings and tattoos - things my parents actually hated, but... I really wasn't doing anything that was horribly wrong."

But Marier says if Christopher didn't get his way, he could get extremely angry.

"Christopher had a rifle... it was not loaded. He pointed it at Susan and Melissa... and he told them it was loaded and he was going to shoot them," she said.

When asked if he threatened his mother at gunpoint, Christopher said, "No."

Christopher's friend, Eric Polk says the Suttons tended to overreact.

"His parents, to me, always seemed a little bit harsh on him," Polk said.

Perhaps, but when Christopher was 16, things really escalated.

"Susan called me and said, 'We've got a problem,'" John told Roberts.

In Christopher's room, Susan found a note.

"It was a plan to kill his parents for the inheritance," said Marier.

"I saw it. I read it. It was there," said John.

"How did [Christopher] react when this happened?" Roberts asked.

"It wasn't his fault. He was just kidding. He wasn't serious," John replied.

But the Suttons were frightened and they wanted Christopher out of the house. They even got a retraining order against their 16-year-old son.

Eric Polk invited Christopher to live with his family; the judge agreed.

"He was a valued member of our household," Polk said. "He went to school when he was supposed to go... He didn't cause any problems living with us."

Then, three weeks later, two men came to get Christopher.

"It was a Friday night," Polk recalled. "They were trying to wrestle him across my lawn."

Christopher was shipped off to Samoa to a place called Paradise Cove. But this was no vacation; it was a hardcore behavior modification program for troubled boys.

Randy Rogers' parents sent him to Paradise Cove when he was 17. He says if you didn't follow every rule, punishments were severe - including being sent to the isolation box for the day.

In 1998, while investigating a story of abuse here, "48 Hours" filmed the isolation box. But Rogers says even worse things went on at Paradise Cove in the early days of the program when Christopher first got there.

"They would tie them with duct tape... with rope... they took them to some compound that was in the mountains... left them hogtied there," he said.

A year into Paradise Cove, Christopher sent an emotional video message home to his parents:

All right, mom and dad.... wanted to tell you I don't feel like you guys love me... I feel like I've been sent here just to get me out of your hair... You guys still dislike me for some reason. Even though my wishes aren't to be here, they don't come true.

John, Susan and Melissa traveled to Samoa to see for themselves what it was like. John says his son was happy to see the family.

Christopher says he tried to telling his parents about the abuse.

"Did I believe it? No," John said. "I didn't believe it ... and I can't imagine that's what was happening."

Christopher was hoping to leave Paradise Cove forever on his 18th birthday, but his father got a court order to keep him there for another year.

"He was, shall we say, fighting the program," said John.

Randy Rogers says he can only imagine how angry that would have made Christopher.

"When you learned about the shooting at the Sutton home what were you thinking?" Roberts asked Rogers.

"I was thinking that possibly, you know, Chris might have been behind it," he replied.

"You can understand how he may have wanted to exact revenge against his parents for his time at Paradise Cove?"


"To the point of murder?" Roberts asked.

Randy nods his head in the affirmative.

In 2000, Paradise Cove, with a dwindling enrollment and accusations of abuse, shut down. But whatever happened to Christopher there was a long time ago. He was now 25 and as far as John was concerned, a loving son who wanted to take care of him after the shooting.

"I said, 'Don't live with Christopher. I think Christopher had something to do with this,' Mary Marier said. "And [John] was very angry with me about that."

"I didn't suspect him, and of course, I wouldn't have wanted it to be Christopher. That's the worst thing," says John.

But Marier is sure Christopher was behind the shooting of his father and the murder of his mother.

"Christopher isn't like you and me. Christopher's not like other people," she said. There's something missing... The night before the funeral is when I was convinced that Christopher had something to do with it."

Marier says Christopher talked about what happened. "He said, oh, Susan was shot more than one time. He was describing about how the killer went down the hallway."

"Christopher was familiar with details about the shooting that had not yet been released?" Roberts asked.

"Yes," Marier replied. "The blood drained from my body... I looked at Christopher and I thought, 'You killed her. ... You did it.'"

But Christopher was nowhere near his parents' house when they were attacked. He and his girlfriend were at the movies - and can be seen on the theater's security cameras.

If Christopher didn't shoot his parents, who did?