BREAKING: 14-year-old to be tried as adultPublished 1:14pm Monday, March 8, 2010
Appearing before Judge Scott Schofield via satellite, Dakotah Eliason, 14, seemed aware but emotionless as he was informed that he would face charges of murder in the shooting death of his paternal grandfather, Jesse Miles, early Sunday morning.
Eliason’s parents, Steven Eliason and Mary Apfel were obviously distraught over the arraignment of their son, saying they had heard on television he would be tried as an adult.
Being advised of his rights, Schofield told Eliason, “you are being charged with murder,” as well as felony possession of a firearm, which carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison. The maximum penalty for murder is life in prison.
Schofield said Eliason would receive a court-appointed attorney and set bond at $100,000. A pre-exam conference was scheduled for Friday morning and a preliminary exam was set for Tuesday, March 16.
Michigan State Police report they received a 911 call at approximately 3 a.m. Sunday of a shooting at the Miles’ home at 3120 Niles-Buchanan Rd., in Niles Township.
According to the prosecutor’s office, there police found Miles with an apparent gunshot wound to the head. Miles was transported to the St. Joseph County Medical Center in South Bend where he later died.
The prosecutor’s office said Dakotah Eliason was arrested at the scene and housed at the Berrien County Juvenile Center.
As of approximately 11:30 a.m. a statement was released from the Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office stating charges had been filed under statutory provisions permitting automatic waiver into adult criminal court.
Steven Eliason said he could not understand how it was so quickly decided to try his son as an adult or why he hadn’t been informed by any authorities and had to find out the news on television.
“My son has never been in trouble for anything in his life,” he said.