MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Hutchinson man accused of killing a friend, and then covering up the crime, is going to prison.
On Friday, a Wright County judge sentenced 28-year-old Robert Nuttall to 20 years behind bars. He is up for parole after 13 years.
Earlier in October, he pleaded guilty to unintentionally murdering Christopher Rossing during a fight last summer. The two were last seen at a bar in Howard Lake.
Months later, investigators discovered Rossing’s bone fragments and teeth in a fire pit near Nuttall’s farm.
As part of the plea deal, Nuttall did not have to give details of Rossing’s death. He only admitted the two got into a roadside fight that led to Rossing’s death.
“Who I’m most sorry for today is Christopher Rossing,” Deanna Villella, Rossing’s sister, said. “He didn’t deserve what happened to him.”
For Rossing’s family, the 20-year prison sentence doesn’t seem like enough of a punishment.
“We feel it should have been an eye for an eye. You take a life, you serve a life,” Villella said.
Villella can’t forget the nine weeks spent searching for her brother or the moment their worst fears became a reality.
“We had to hold his bones in our hands, including his teeth. No family should have to go through that,” Villella said.
She’s also not ready to forgive. Villella went into the sentencing hearing with no plans for a victim’s impact statement.
“He has never shown any signs of remorse. He has never apologized for his actions,” she said. “We don’t want to waste any more time on Robert Nuttall. Our family has been through enough. He doesn’t deserve any more of our thoughts and efforts.”
Instead, Rossing’s friends and family are focusing on what he left behind.
“We want to do something positive so no family has to go out and search ever again,” Villella said.
Over the last year, they’ve created United Legacy, offering support to families of the missing. Their latest efforts took them to Otsego to help search for Joe Brunn, who went missing after a wedding. His body was found less than a week later in the nearby river.
“We’re impacting someone else’s life and helping them not have to go through what we had to go through,” Villella said.
While it doesn’t replace the sense of loss, it’s one way a life cut unfairly short will live on.
“We’re going to find peace in helping others.” She said.
Rossing’s family said they plan to hold a memorial ceremony in the coming months. They are still waiting for his remains.
Robert Nuttall’s girlfriend, Gwen Butcher, goes to court in December. She’s expected to plead guilty to obstructing justice.