Double murder, kidnapping suspect James Horn Jr. shot and killed

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GREEN RIDGE, Mo. — The man wanted in connection to the murder of a woman and her teenage son was shot and killed by police in rural Pettis County, Missouri, on Saturday.

According to authorities, James Horn Jr., 47, was killed in a shootout with police inside an abandoned home in the J.N. "Turkey" Kearn Memorial Wildlife Area just west of Green Ridge, about 20 minutes southwest of Sedalia.

The Pettis County Sheriff's Office and members of the Rural Missouri Major Case Squad were searching the conservation area around 11:30 A.M. on Saturday when Horn was discovered inside the home, Pettis County Sheriff Kevin Bond said in a statement released on Saturday afternoon.

Home near Green Ridge, Mo.,  where murder suspect James Horn Jr. was shot and killed late Friday night. (Credit: WDAF)

Home near Green Ridge, Mo., where murder suspect James Horn Jr. was shot and killed late Friday night. (Credit: WDAF)

Bond says that Horn was armed at the time of the encounter, and no officers were injured in the incident.

Authorities say that the Rural Missouri Major Case Squad has been tasked with the responsibility of processing the scene, and criminal investigators from the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Drug and Crime Control Unit are working the shooting incident.

Bond says that the deputies involved in the shooting have been placed on routine paid administrative leave, as per standard procedure.

Horn was the suspect in the shooting deaths of 46-year-old Sandra Sutton and her 17-year-old son Zachary in a Clinton, Missouri, home early Thursday morning.

Funeral services for Sandra and Zachary Sutton will be held on Wednesday, May 27 at 2:00 P.M. at the Clinton Christian Church in Clinton, Missouri. The family will receive friends from noon to 2:00 P.M. prior to the service.

The family suggests memorial contributions be made to the Sandra Sutton Memorial Fund and the Zach Sutton Memorial Fund and may be left in care of Vansant Mills Funeral Home in Clinton.

In April, Sandra Sutton escaped from a home in Sedalia, where she said Horn held her captive in a wooden box.

Police had been trying to find Horn since April 30 when Sutton escaped from the box. According to the probable cause document, police found sleeping bags, reading material, flash lights and a bucket full of urine and feces inside the wooden box where Sandra said she lived. The box was described 100 inches long, 48″ wide and 52″ tall. The box had been sound-proofed but contained a small hole for air. It was found near the southwest bedroom.

Horn was charged with kidnapping, armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon in connection to that case.

Horn had a long criminal history of violence before these incidents. In 1992, when James Horn was 24-years old he was accused, and then convicted of kidnapping and sexual battery in Shelby County, Tenn. His girlfriend at the time said she’d been dating him for about five weeks when she broke up with him. She said she awoke the next day to find him rummaging through her closet. She said he put duct tape over her mouth and hands, and forced her to have sex with him.

Prosecutors filed charges against Horn, who pleaded guilty to kidnapping and sexual battery. He was sentenced and later released from custody March 14, 1995, according to Tennessee court records.

Then in July of 1996, while a divorce was pending between Horn and his estranged wife, he used a ladder to crawl through the attic of the home where she and her eight-year-old daughter were living, according to Mississippi court records. He then locked the eight-year-old in a closet and proceeded to rape and then kidnap his estranged wife.

During the kidnapping, he made her take out money from ATMs before he locked her in a car trunk and took her to Springfield, Mo. He threatened to kill her and repeatedly abused her during the kidnapping. An FBI SWAT team later rescued her at a Kansas City, Mo., motel where Horn had a knife held to her throat.

Horn pleaded guilty to interstate kidnapping and was sentenced to 12 years and 9 months in prison followed by 5 years of supervised released.

He was released in December of 2011 and began his period of supervised released, which was transferred from the Northern District of Mississippi to the Western District of Missouri in February of 2012.

Sandra Sutton and Zachary Sutton

Sandra Sutton and Zachary Sutton

Sandra Sutton's daughter Cassandra Pottoroff told FOX 4 that she doesn’t believe her mother suspected that Horn was as dangerous as police said he was.

“We was all telling her that she needs to stay hid and stay hid good,” Pottoroff said.

The Pottorffs say family told them that Horn went to Sutton’s parents’ house the night Sandra and Zachary were murdered, thinking that’s where Sandra would be staying. They say he stole a shotgun and stole the car key.

“She was not in protective custody. Several folks have asked that. ‘Why didn’t the police protect her? Why was she not in protective custody?’ The fact is, we didn’t know that she was living in our community and as far as I can tell from checking she has never even sought an order of protection against James Horn,” Lt. Lynch said. “We were not notified that she lived here, neither by her, nor anyone else. No one requested patrols. We were not aware that that type of situation even existed.”