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.

  • Front.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks

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