John Skelton's sentencing appeal fails 2012.06.13

Written by David Green.

John Skelton will remain at the Alger Correctional Facility near Munising after the challenge to his sentence was rejected by the Michigan Court of Appeals.

The Morenci resident entered a “no contest” plea last July to charges of the unlawful imprisonment of his three sons, Andrew, Alexander and Tanner, who went missing in November 2010 after a visit to their father’s house.

In September 2011, Circuit Court Judge Margaret Noe exceeded the sentencing guidelines and sent Skelton to prison for 10 to 15 years.

Working with a state attorney, Skelton charged that Noe’s sentencing was too harsh and should not have exceeded the guidelines, but the appeals court rejected that notion.

When Skelton was sentenced Sept. 15 last year, Judge Noe stated there were “substantial and compelling reasons” to justify her actions.

“The guidelines do not account for the loss which is much more like that suffered by families of murder victims,” she said.

The assistant prosecuting attorney Douglas Hartung agreed with Noe’s decision, stating, “It is difficult to imagine a more significant case of unlawful imprisonment in the State of Michigan.”

Noe said Skelton’s various explanations of the whereabouts of his sons were ridiculous and “just plain lies.”

Morenci Chief of Police Larry Weeks said he had complete confidence in Judge Noe’s decision and could see no reason for Skelton to be successful in his request to the appeals court.

Investigation of the case, which he considers a murder investigation, remains ongoing, Weeks said.

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