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Susan Rebecca Cole formally charged with murder of Doug Hutcheson

An Okaloosa County grand jury has indicted Susan Rebecca Cole for the shooting of Douglas Hutcheson on November 5, 2022.
The grand jury has charged Ms. Cole with First Degree Premeditated Murder with a Firearm, as she admitted to shooting Hutcheson, her ex-husband, who was unarmed at the time of the incident, according to a statement from the state attorney’s office.
Douglas “Doug” Hutcheson, a well-known local attorney, died due to the shooting. The circumstances and evidence surrounding the incident prompted the grand jury to issue the indictment against Ms. Cole. The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case. At the same time, Assistant State Attorney Michelle Sandler has taken up the prosecution on behalf of Ginger Bowden Madden, the State Attorney for the First Judicial Circuit of Florida.

Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Cole Friday, June 23. She now sits in the Okaloosa County jail awaiting. The court has denied the bond in the case; Cole will be in jail during the trial.

According to the Clerk of Courts website, Cole has no prior arrests or convictions in Okaloosa County. The Clerk’s office lists local attorney Michael Flowers as the legal representative for Cole. Judge Terrance Ketchel will preside over the trial.

The trial is expected to shed further light on the events leading up to the shooting and provide the court and the community with a clearer understanding of the incident’s circumstances. The prosecution will present its case to seek a conviction for First Degree Premeditated Murder with a Firearm, while the defense will have an opportunity to present its arguments.

a woman in orange jail garb.
An Okaloosa County grand jury has indicted Susan Rebecca Cole for murder. Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office investigators accuse her of murdering former Okaloosa County Commissioner Doug Hutcheson

Who was local attorney and former Okaloosa County Commissioner Doug Hutcheson?

This information is from Hutcheson’s obituary from Heritage Gardens Funeral Home:

Doug was born on August 2, 1957, to Ashley “Pud” Hutcheson and Frances Joan Hutcheson in Pensacola, Florida, and grew up in Niceville, Florida, along Bayshore Drive.

Doug’s academic journey took him to Niceville High School, where he graduated in 1975. He furthered his education at Florida State University, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing in 1982. Following his passion for law, he pursued a Juris Doctorate from Samford’s Cumberland School of Law in 1985. During his time at FSU, he developed a deep love for the Seminoles, becoming a loyal fan and dedicating fall seasons to football and hunting.


a man holding a fish he just caught.
Former Okaloosa County Commissioner Doug Hutcheson. Photo from Heritage Gardens Funeral Home website obituary of Douglas Hutcheson.

Family always came first for Doug, and he was a devoted and loving father and grandfather. He took immense pride in his two children, Chad and Hannah, and never missed an opportunity to support them in their endeavors. Whether it was attending games, ceremonies, graduations, or simply sharing a heartfelt phone call, Doug made it a priority to be there for his kids. He cherished his role as a grandfather and was overjoyed by the recent addition of his grandchildren, Gwendolyn and Heidi.

Beyond his family, Doug was widely known for his passion for fishing. What started as a childhood hobby with his father transformed into a lifelong pursuit that earned him recognition throughout Okaloosa County. Doug could often be found on local creeks and rivers, casting his line from his boat. His love for fishing extended to hosting fish fries for family, friends, and the community, showcasing his talent as a skilled cook.

Doug’s commitment to serving his community was unwavering. He dedicated over four decades to practicing law, advocating for his clients with passion and a sharp wit inside and outside the courtroom. His genuine desire to help others was evident to everyone who knew him, as he exuded a warm heart and a generous spirit. Known for his humor, jokes, and fun-loving nature, Doug left a lasting impression on those he encountered.

His strong Christian faith was a guiding force throughout his life. Doug’s unwavering belief in God grew stronger in his final years, and he lived by his principles with an anchored and steadfast relationship with Jesus Christ. He found solace and strength in his faith, which provided a solid foundation for his love of family, church, and community.

While Doug achieved numerous successes, he considered his greatest accomplishment to be his children. He dedicated his life to raising them, instilling important values of treating others with respect, embracing integrity, and prioritizing the quality of life. Douglas Hutcheson is survived by his children, Chad Hutcheson (Noel) and Hannah Wilburn (Logan), along with his cherished grandchildren, Gwendolyn and Heidi. He is also mourned by his brothers, Robert Hutcheson and Phillip Hutcheson.

6 Responses

  1. So, Mr. Saul, you followed up a story about the indictment of a woman who killed her ex-husband in an act of self-defense with an obituary written by his family and friends — good ol’ Doug, family man and the best fisherman around.

    What about the pesky little fact that Ms. Cole was the victim of years of terror and domestic abuse at the hands of this man? She took out several protective orders against Doug Hutcheson, and he was arrested on domestic violence charges, but his buddies on the bench always let him go.

    He was also a corrupt politician, who was found guilty of falsifying information and was removed from the County Commission shortly after being elected. And while he could’ve been slapped with a $5,000 fine or sent to prison for five years, the judge declined to adjudicate him guilty, and ol’ Doug once again got off Scot free and was even able to run for office again.

    Doug Hutcheson was a man who acted with impunity. He was part of the Good Ol’ Boy network in Okaloosa County, and he used his position as an attorney and his contacts within the legal system to repeatedly abuse his wife (and then ex-wife) without consequence

    But you don’t have the journalistic integrity to do an inkling of research and report on the facts. Who’s pulling your strings?

    1. Beatrice,

      It sounds like you have information that I was not able to obtain. Would you be willing to go on the record with an interview about the subject?

  2. It would be nice to share both sides of this story.
    You said he was unarmed? Wrong
    He’s a wife beater and a criminal with multiple arrest for domestic violence and was fired from his elected official position for fraud.
    Do your research

    1. Jimmy,

      It sounds like you have information that I was not able to obtain. Would you be willing to go on the record with an interview about the subject?

  3. Christopher… The history of Mr Hutchenson’s domestic battery — slamming a woman’s face into concrete on at least one occasion — I would suggest, after reading your article based on absolutely no journalistic investigation, that you research both sides of an issue before you knight this woman-beater as some kind of hero.

    It appears he was not. There are multiple public records of him being arrested and rearrested over and over for battery on a woman. Being an attorney and an elected official only gave him cover and privilege in court for his extreme violence against women and his corruption in public office, for which he was removed from the county commission. You make it sound like he was without flaws of any kind. 

    And now his victim, this poor woman, Ms Cole, who has never had an arrest nor any issues with law enforcement, who says she had to defend herself from this man again, is made to sound like she had no cause at all for doing what she did. You left that part out, and this kind of tainted journalism is beneath the dignity of your readers.

    It’s easy to take others work and write a one-sided article without any of the relevant facts. When it’s journalism, you investigate and report the real truth. This is a PR campaign to clean up the victim’s reputation, but you’re perpetuating lies.


    1. Craig,

      It sounds like you have information that I was not able to obtain. Would you be willing to go on the record with an interview about the subject?

Comments are closed.

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