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Former Decatur restaurant owner pleads guilty to murder

WAAY 31 learned what the community thinks about his three weeks on the street before that sentence.

Posted: Aug 19, 2019 7:02 PM
Updated: Aug 19, 2019 7:17 PM

A community is on edge after a man who pleaded guilty to murder is still out and about, rather than behind bars.

Scott Dutton, the former owner of “Downtown Dawgs,” is expected to turn himself into authorities on September 2nd to start serving a 20-year sentence.

Scott Dutton

WAAY 31 learned what the community thinks about his three weeks on the street before that sentence.

“Kind of scary to know that these people are still on the streets," Rachel Elliot said.

That’s what Rachel Elliot had to say after hearing former owner of Downtown Dawgs, Scott Dutton, pleaded guilty to shooting and killing a man back in 2016, but wasn’t taken right to jail.

“I recently sold my weapon because I didn’t want those things around small kids at my home, so, now, it’s a little scary to think that I couldn’t do something if I needed to," Elliot said.

According to court documents, Dutton pleaded guilty on August 15th and was sentenced to 20 years. People WAAY 31 spoke with wanted to know why that sentence hadn't already started.

“That’s a grace period almost and it’s giving someone time to flee," Elliot said. "He should’ve been locked up right away.”

The deadly fight Dutton was involved in centered around a woman. Some call it an isolated incident.

“It was a crime of passion. That changes the story," Ed James said. "He’s not out, doing drugs and shooting up people for no reason. It was a fluke that it happened.”

Now, folks are thinking about the murder victim's loved ones.

“My condolences to the family. Any time you lose someone, especially in a violent manner, it’s sad," James said.

WAAY 31 reached out to Dutton’s lawyer, Carl Cole. He told us Dutton accepted responsibility for his role in a tragic situation that could have been avoided if either man had backed down, or at least attempted to de-escalate the situation.

He also told us that the three-week window between Dutton's guilty plea and his sentence was a part of the negotiation and is not unheard of.

Cole told WAAY 31 Downtown Dawgs is owned by Dutton’s mother and will remain open.

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