As recounted in the April story "The Boy Who Wouldn't Tell," Alan Sudduth has spent more than half his 31 years behind bars for the 1995 killing of Denver cab driver Finley Bradshaw Myers, even though somebody else -- a friend named Nicholas Reed -- has confessed to the murder. Last year, an Arapahoe County judge granted Sudduth a new trial -- but in October, the Court of Appeals reversed that ruling. And now the Colorado Supreme Court has passed on its chance to consider the case, meaning Sudduth will serve his seventy years.
But Alison Ruttenberg, Sudduth's lawyer, isn't giving up yet. "I plan to take this to the U.S. District Court on a federal writ of habeas corpus, that his conviction was unconstitutional because he was actually innocent and only entered his guilty plea as a result of ineffective assistance of counsel, which has already been determined," she says. "I am deeply disappointed they would not allow an uneducated teenager his right to post-conviction relief, when he was denied effective assistance of council, and they expect him to get everything right and file everything and interpret the statutes correctly, even though he's an uneducated teenager."
There are some people, however, who hope Sudduth does not get out of prison any time soon -- namely the family of Finley Bradshaw Myers. Over the past week, several of Myers' relatives have posted emotional responses to the original feature about Sudduth. It's powerful stuff; we've reprinted them in their entirety below.
The murdered man in this article is my Uncle. We called him Brad. He is practically a footnote. The article focuses on the plight of his murderers. Let me just point out to the readers that you cannot believe everything you read. There are numerous inaccuracies. I am not going to waste my time arguing them point by point because the court already took care of that when they shot down this appeal in October.
These young men clearly wanted to be tough, to come off like gangsters. They will need to live with the consequences of such a choice. I resent that they are painted as having some kind of "street honor." I am frankly surprised that anyone would believe their story. They showed me all I need to know about their character when they put a bullet in my uncle's head. They have no honor. I don't give credence to words spoken by people with no honor. If they are truly remorseful, they will serve the time and give the Myers family the one comfort that we deserve--- serving their full sentence imposed by the court.. I just see people shifting blame. That is not remorse. Brad has no appeal. Brad cannot speak. Brad cannot meet my husband or my children.... so I am not really concerned with any inequity these criminals feel they have suffered. The article states it was a "very defendable case." It is a sad world when people find shooting an unarmed man sitting in a car doing his job a "very defendable case" for the defense team. Sad.
So here are a few things about my Uncle Brad that no one bothered to represent here. His mother is alive at 92 and misses her son terribly. Five years after Brad's murder, his father died. Brad was a gifted athlete. He loved Jack Kerouac. He could make anyone laugh, from a 2 year old to a 90 year old. He once worked in Alaska and took a helicopter to work. He taught art to inner city kids in Miami. He was a painter. He was a musician. He was a writer working on a book when he was shot. He had already completed a book of poetry. He once owned his own landscaping business in Florida. He had switched shifts with a single father of 3 children on the day he was shot. He participated in the Iron Man. He was one of the most charming, insightful. funny people I have ever known but I never get to see him again. I adored him. He died when I was 22 years old. He was 44. I am 39 now.
To the writer and editor involved in this, going forward, please check your facts. Also, please be wary of how you paint the subjects of your stories. They do not have honor. They are not the victims. I hope you never have anyone on your family shot in the head. It was a grave insult to read this article.
This article just came to my attention today. As Brad's Myers older brother I intend to take whatever action is necessary to ensure that Alan Sudduth and Nicholas Reed serve every minute of their court imposed sentences. Brad's death broke our Father's heart. He never fully recovered from his youngest Son's senseless murder. Brad is still survived by his Mother, two brothers, a Sister, three nieces, two nephews, and ten grand nephews and nieces...all of whom have been ruthlessly deprived of Brad,s wit, charm and friendly, good-natured mannerisms. He was a contributor and a positive force in many peoples lives. He loved people and he loved life.
It does not matter, in the slightest, whether it was Sudduth or Reed who actually "pulled the trigger". When a cold-blooded murder, in the first degree, is commented in the commission of a felony crime, all parties involved are equally guilty. The District Attorny's Office prosecuted this heinous crime correctly and well. Let's not forget who the REAL victims are here. The outcome was just and fair, most of all to THE MYERS FAMILY!
As long as Brad's (and my) Mother is alive (and she is a very healthy 92 year old), I will urge and fight for the continued incarceration of Alan Sudduth and Nicholas Reed.
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More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Rosendo 'Sir Kong' Santa Cruz, nicknamed crew indicted in Weld County gang roundup."