BREAKING: Eliason pleads ‘not guilty’Published 4:18pm Tuesday, March 23, 2010
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
Following testimony from his father, Steven, who recalled the moments after which he was informed by police that his father, 69-year-old Jesse Miles, had been shot and his son, 14-year-old Dakotah Eliason, was being held in custody, Eliason pleaded not guilty today in the shooting death of his grandfather on the morning of March 7.
The plea came after a day of testimony that shed some light on the events that took place around 3 a.m. that morning — but still left the question of why Eliason allegedly chose to kill his grandfather unanswered.
Judge Scott Schofield also ordered a forensic examination of Eliason, whose charges include first degree, premeditated murder, saying that following the testimony and evidence heard today there was “no indication of a spur of the moment decision” warranting the premeditated murder classification.
After the prosecution presented its group of witnesses and evidence to the court, defense attorney Lanny Fisher called Eliason’s father to the stand.
He recalled being awakened by a knock at his door and informed by Det. Fabian Suarez with the Michigan State Police of what had happened at his father’s home on Niles-Buchanan Road in Niles Township.
Steven Eliason said he told Suarez, who at the time was driving him to the Law Enforcement Complex, where his son was being held, that he wanted a lawyer present but was told in that case he would be taken immediately home and his son transferred to the Berrien County Juvenile Center directly until representation could be acquired.
Steven chose to go see his son.
“I wanted to see that my son was OK,” he said.
Following a forensic examination, trial is expected to start in July.
Even after seeing and hearing audio and video recordings of Eliason in the hours after Miles sustained a gunshot wound to the head, questions remain as to what led the boy to the alleged crime.
The Star will have a full report on the testimony and evidence heard at today’s preliminary examination in Wednesday’s paper.