Judge John Johnson referred to Bolton as a “good” person to his family and friends, but also said Fletcher’s death was a tragedy that “did not have to happen”
“As reflected here, this crime shows what you are capable of,” Johnson said to Bolton. “I’m very sorry for the victim’s family.”
Charging documents say Bolton, 49, and Fletcher, 41, were close friends.
During trial a witness testified that on May 24 2011, Bolton arrived to a cookout and kissed Fletcher on the forehead as if he was a woman.
Fletcher was at first angered. Bolton said, “Why you all up in your feelings? As much as you play with me like that?” Fletcher then said, “You’re right,” and they both began to joke around, touching each other.
Several minutes later Fletcher yelled to Bolton to meet him on D Street “If you wanna see me.” Bolton left to get a gun, then came back to meet Fletcher near the intersection of D Street and 34th Street. Bolton testified that Fletcher attacked him with a knife, so he shot him in self-defense.
No knife was found. Fletcher died of one gunshot wound to the stomach.
“I’m sorry that it happened that way and that he died,” Bolton said to the court. “Unfortunately it happened that way and I’m sorry.”
Jurors found Bolton guilty of second-degree murder in February, and US Attorney Gary Wheeler sought the maximum 30 year sentence, saying Bolton has not “accepted his guilt” in the murder, and that he still contends it was self-defense.
“No weapon was found because there is no other statement from anyone saying Christopher Fletcher attacked him at all. He is the only person saying there was an attack,” Wheeler said.
Fletcher’s eldest daughter, Sierra, 20, spoke to the court about her father’s death and how Bolton should be punished.
“He never got to see me walk across that stage on graduation. He will never walk me down the aisle, or see my kids. I will never see my father again,” Sierra Fletcher said. “I hope he (Bolton) gets the justice he deserves for tearing my family apart.”
Bolton’s older sister asked the judge for leniency in his sentencing saying “My brother is not a beast.”
“I’m asking you to be considerate for my brother. He’s not a bad guy,” she said. “This is not the way it’s supposed to be. This is not the way he was raised.”
As Judge Johnson gave his ruling on the sentence, Fletcher’s family sat in the back of the courtroom. Some crying. Some praying.
Lizzy Duvall, 35, a cousin Fletcher often referred to as a sister, said she will miss Fletcher’s smile, sense of humor, and “phone calls everyday.”
“Justice was served and I finally can move on,” said Duvall. “I can forgive him (Bolton), but I will never forget.”