A California teenager was sentenced to life behind bars after he fatally shot his father and autistic brother — and then tried to pass off the crime as a murder-suicide.
Fresno resident Robert Cotter, now 19, had pinned the May 2021 double killing on his 15-year-old brother, but cops zeroed in on him when they found he had searched the internet for how to make a murder look like a suicide, reports said.
Cotter later fessed up to cops and pleaded no contest to the charges.
He was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murders on Monday, plus 50 years to life for using a gun, TV station KFSN reported.
During his trial, Cotter’s attorney contended his client had been “traumatized” by an abusive childhood.
But that didn’t appear to move Judge James Kelley.
“I don’t know what his issue was with his father that caused him to want to commit homicide, but to execute his brother?” Kelley said, according to KFSN. “It was cold-blooded murder of a kid that had done nothing wrong.”
The teen waited until his father, Patrick Cotter, 53, and younger brother, Brian Cotter, fell asleep in the family’s mobile home on May 16 before he shot his dad in the head and back with a Colt handgun, according to the Fresno Bee.
“His brother woke up and started to run away, but he pulled his brother back by the collar and shot him in the head,” prosecutor Daniel Walters said in court, according to the Bee.
Cotter, then 18, called 911 and said Brian was behind the shooting, but he was arrested in July after cops found his suspicious internet searches including queries on how to shoot a Colt 1911 and “what happens to your stimulus check if you die?,” the Bee reported.
Robert Cotter sentenced to life for murdering father, autistic brother