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.little Ball
    Fayette's Demetrious Whiteside (left)Skylar Lester attempt to keep the ball from going out of bounds during Morenci's recent basketball tournament for fourth and fifth grade teams. Morenci's Andrew Schmidt stands by.
  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
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    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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