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Former Radford University student 'did cocaine with the devil' before murdering her roommate

Luisa Cutting sentenced to 40 years in prison

RADFORD, Va. – A former Radford University student pleaded guilty Monday afternoon to killing her roommate. 

Luisa Cutting, 21, was then sentenced to 40 years in prison for the second-degree murder of Alexa Cannon. 

After serving 20 years in prison, the remaining 20 years of Cutting's sentence could be suspended with active supervised probation for 10 years.

During Monday's hearing, more information came to light about what led to Cutting murdering Cannon.

Radford City Commonwealth's Attorney Chris Rehak talked about how Cutting participated in recorded interviews, confessing to killing Cannon without a real explanation as to why.

At times during those interviews she was incoherent, but at other points, she would be lucid. She couldn't recall certain parts of the incident or the hours leading up to the murder.

During the interviews, Cutting was praying, mentioning the apocalypse and saying that she did cocaine with the devil.

Rehak said that there was some evidence that Cutting was reciting "Hail Mary" in Spanish over and over.

He said that Cutting did express some remorse for her actions and had knowledge of what happened.

She also admitted to taking a combination of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, mushrooms and cocaine the night before she murdered Cannon.

Rehak said that evidence also suggested that Cutting had a lack of sleep in the previous days.

All those factors combined triggered a psychotic episode, said Rehak.

Once incarcerated, Cutting's behavior became so bizarre that jail staffers applied for an emergency custody order, according to Rehak.

She spent a week at a mental health facility and later, while at the jail, was trying to shove her hands into her mouth.

Rehak also said that had the case gone to trial, the prosecution would have entered 911 calls, body camera videos, pictures and Cutting's confession as evidence.

Cutting also spoke at her hearing to apologize for her actions.

"There are no words for this tragedy. And my heart is filled with sorrow and grief. My heart goes out to the Cannon family. I am so, so sorry. I take full responsibility for this. Again, I am so, so sorry for this tragedy. I'd like to thank my parents and friends for being by my side as I am so thankful and again there are no words for this tragedy. Thank you," said Cutting.

Rehak released this statement after Monday's plea:

This case was extraordinarily unusual and the guilty plea today ends criminal proceedings in this tragic and mysterious event. It was an honor and privilege to represent the life of Alexa Cannon. I worked with her family, who provided thoughtful input and help craft the plea agreement terms in which reflect a complex balance of facts, trial options and proportionality.

Perhaps more importantly, the agreement secured a murder conviction, avoided any appeals and spared Alexa's family and friends the anguish and anxiety of trial. The Commonwealth also considered the impact and viability of defenses such as insanity, irresistible impulse and voluntary intoxication. Second-degree murder appropriately fit our specific facts, reflects the provable criminal intent and achieves justice. The 20-year active sentence is at the high end of second-degree murder sentencing guidelines which recommend 12 years and 9 months to 21 years and 4 months with a midpoint of 17 years and 1 month.

Alexa Cannon

Alexa Cannon, who was from Roanoke, also attended Radford University and was planning to graduate next year. She graduated from Patrick Henry High School in 2016.

On Jan. 24, 2019, authorities went to the 1200 block of Clement Street at 7:45 a.m. in reference to a 911 call. 

When they arrived, Cutting opened the door. She was covered in blood. She turned around, put her hands behind her head and said to officers, "Arrest me," according to a search warrant.

When an officer asked what was going on, she said, "I killed her," according to the warrant.

Inside the apartment, officers found Cannon's body. Search warrants indicate she had been stabbed multiple times.

Cutting's attorney previously said that mental issues are a factor.

This is a story 10 News has covered closely since it happened:

  • Police identify Radford University student who was stabbed to death (Published Jan. 24, 2019)
  • 'I killed her': Radford student told police when she was arrested, warrant says (Published Jan. 25, 2019)
  • Radford University releases statement after student allegedly stabs, kills another student (Published Jan. 25, 2019)
  • 'Her death hit us all very hard'; Alexa Cannon remembered for putting others above herself (Published Jan. 25, 2019)
  • Radford University to celebrate Alexa Cannon's life (Published Jan. 28, 2019)
  • Memorial service for Alexa Cannon set for Wednesday (Published, Jan. 28, 2019)
  • Wear blue: Memorial service will celebrate life of Radford University student Alexa Cannon (Published Jan. 30, 2019)
  • Investigators looking to social media for answers in deadly stabbing (Published Jan. 30, 2019)
  • Alexa Cannon remembered for the incredible highs she brought to life (Published Jan. 30, 2019)
  • Former Radford University student waives rights in first court appearance (Published Sept. 5, 2019)

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    Jessica Jewell

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