Dover man gets 40 years in prison for fatal stabbing

DOVER — A Dover man received 40 years in prison Wednesday after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in the stabbing death of a Milford man at the John Dickinson Plantation last year.

Malcolm A. Casson was immediately sentenced by Superior Court Judge Noel Eason Primos. Casson also admitted to possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony.
Casson was deemed a habitual offender for previous convictions on second-degree burglary and assault counts. His effective sentencing date was Nov. 2, 2018.

The victim, Thomas M. Bunting Jr., 36, of Milford, was found unresponsive when Delaware State Police were called to the scene at 7:26 a.m. on Feb. 20, 2018. He had multiple stab wounds and was pronounced dead by paramedics at 340 Kitts Hummock Road in Dover.

As police investigated, authorities said Casson was found driving his 2016 Kia Optima vehicle when stopped without incident by Harrington Police for a traffic violation. He was 25 years old at the time.

Before sentencing, Mr. Bunting’s parents Tom Sr. and Nina spoke before the court about their first born child while choking back tears.
“You’re not supposed to talk about your son in the past tense,” Tom said. “He was supposed to take care of us when we were older.

“It’s a hole that can’t be filled. We still hear stories about people he helped that we knew nothing about … “It’s such a loss not just to our family but society.”

Mrs. Bunting said that as her son grew up “he never met a person who didn’t like him right away …
“He lived, love and laughed and wasn’t quiet about it.”

Her son’s many jobs “always included managing people, dealing with people and entertaining people.”
The Buntings pushed for a maximum life sentence so that know other family would potentially have to experience their type of loss.

“This has been such an emotional rollercoaster that cannot be described,” Mrs. Bunting said.

The defendant declined to address the court.

Deputy Attorneys General Stephen R. Welch and Stephen E. Smith prosecuted the case.
“We believe this was the proper and best resolution for a horrendous crime,” Mr. Smith said.

Addressing the court before sentencing, Mr. Welch described Mr. Bunting as “popular in the community. He had a lot of friends and family that really cared for him.”
Attorneys Robert A. Harpster and Cara M. McDonald representing Mr. Casson.

The crime detailed
In a probable cause affidavit filed by police to support an arrest, authorities alleged that Mr. Bunting’s “wallet was located in the vehicle, however, (Mr. Bunting’s) debit/credit card was found to be in the possession of Malcolm Casson at the time of his detention.”

Also in the interview, according to police in papers, Mr. Casson “provided details … that only a participant in the crime would know.

“Casson admitted that the knife located in the trunk of the Kia Optima was the weapon he used to stab (Mr. Bunting.)”
Family members told police Mr. Bunting had last been seen leaving in his Kia Optima around 11:30 p.m. the previous night.

His body was found behind a hedgerow in a yard behind the house, documents said.

Following Casson’s prison stay, decreasing levels of work release and probation were ordered. Judge Primos issued a no contact order with family members and restitution. Life in prison was within sentencing guidelines.
Initial charges included first-degree murder, possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony, and first-degree robbery.

According to the Associated Press, court records show Casson has a long criminal history, including an assault conviction related to a 2016 knife fight for which he was sentenced to 10 months in prison.

Casson was indicted on June 4, 2018 and a trial was scheduled for Oct. 14, 2019. Court documents listed him as incarcerated at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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