JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi appellate court has upheld the life sentence without parole for a 31-year-old man who was 15 when he committed the murder that landed him behind bars.
The Mississippi Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court ruling in the case of Dunta Dotson, of Jackson. That means Dotson will continue to serve a life sentence without parole, Jackson news outlets reported .
Dotson was convicted in the October 2004 shooting death of Robert Jeanes at his home in Madison County. Dotson, his brother and another person were indicted in January 2005 on capital murder charges.
Dotson pleaded guilty to the lesser offense of murder on July 26, 2006. At the time, the law required a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.
In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that sentences of life without the possibility of parole cannot be mandatory in the case of juvenile offenders. Dotson’s sentence was vacated. But in 2019, he was resentenced to life without parole — this time after an evidentiary hearing.
He asked the state appeals court to stay that sentence while the U.S. Supreme Court decides another pending case involving parole of juveniles. The appeals court refused.
The appeals panel said the circumstances of the crime weighed against parole. Court documents show Dotson, part of a group planning thefts, shot the victim in the head after they knocked on the man’s door and asked to use the phone.