Eliason’s life sentence to be reduced

Published 2:20 pm Friday, May 29, 2015

Dakota Eliason will have the opportunity to be released from prison after killing his grandfather in 2010.

On Friday, Berrien County Judge Scott Schofield denied a request by the prosecution to sentence Eliason to life without parole. As a result, Schofield will have to give Eliason a sentence of a minimum between 25 and 40 years and a maximum of not less than 60 years.

Eliason, now 19, was 14 when he killed his sleeping grandfather, Jesse Miles, in Buchanan Township in March of 2010. Miles died of a single gunshot wound to the head.

Eliason was later convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced by Schofield to life in prison without parole.

However, Eliason received the opportunity to be resentenced this year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that juveniles convicted of first-degree murder could not be automatically sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Schofield’s opinion this week was based largely on Eliason’s young age at the time of the murder and Eliason’s prospects for rehabilitation. The judge’s opinion said that Eliason was not one of the rare or uncommon children whose crime represents irreparable corruption.

Sepic said he disagrees with Schofield’s opinion.

“That’s his opinion, and he’s the judge,” Sepic said. “I think that it does represent that kind of crime.”

Schofield is scheduled to sentence Eliason June 26.