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Court of appeals affirms Eliason decision, orders resentencing

Published 11:58am Monday, April 8, 2013

The Michigan Court of Appeals last week affirmed the first-degree murder conviction of Dakotah Eliason, a Niles boy serving life in prison for killing his grandfather.

The court of appeals, in Thursday’s ruling, also said Eliason would be resentenced on the first-degree murder conviction.

Eliason’s convictions stemmed from his fatal shooting of his grandfather, Jesse Miles, on March 7, 2010. Eliason was 14 at the time. Judge Scott Schofield sentenced Eliason to life in prison without parole, the sentence required by statute at the time.

While Eliason’s appeal was pending, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that a sentencing scheme which mandated life in prison without the possibility of parole for juvenile offenders was cruel and unusual punishment. Because of that decision, the court of appeals concluded last week Eliason would need to be resentenced.

At resentencing, Schofield will have to take into account Eliason’s youth and individual characteristics before deciding whether to re-impose the original sentencing of life without parole, or to resentence him to the lesser sentence of life with the possibility of parole.

Eliason was also convicted of being in possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

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