crimesider

Dakotah Eliason, 14, Guilty of Murdering Grandfather; Faces Mandatory Life Sentence

Dakotah Eliason (Personal Photo)

Dakotah Eliason (CBS/WSBT)

NILES, Mich. (CBS/WSBT) A Michigan jury has found 14-year-old Dakotah Eliason guilty of first-degree murder for killing his grandfather.

Eliason was charged as an adult for the March 7 shooting death of his 69-year-old grandfather, Jesse Miles, at his Buchanan home.

Prosecutors wrapped up their case against Eliason Wednesday with perhaps their most important evidence - his own words.

"My life just became 'Law and Order,'" Eliason said in the back seat of a police car on the night of his grandfather's death.

Later, in a taped interview with police, Eliason told the detective about grabbing his grandfather's handgun and then arguing with himself over whether or not to shoot him - contemplating homicide or suicide - then shooting his sleeping grandfather in the head from about 7 feet away.

"The evidence shows he thought about this for hours. He told Detective Suarez he thought for hours about how he was going to do it," said prosecutor Art Cotter.

CBS affiliate WSBT reports that after three hours on Thursday, jurors came back with a guilty verdict of first-degree murder, which carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.

Dakotah's defense had argued for second-degree murder, which would've given him a chance at being released from prison someday.

Defense attorney Lanny Fisher argued Dakotah was a good student, but troubled and had problems expressing his emotions.

He said Dakotah was troubled by the loss of a cousin who was killed in a car accident, the 13-year-old family dog that had recently died, and a close friend who'd just committed suicide.

The teen's sentencing is set for Oct. 4.

Story Contributed by CBS Affiliate WSBT

  • Edecio Martinez

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