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New sentence, trial requested in brutal Lawrence Co. murder case

“Evan Miller has had multiple multiple opportunities for due process,” said the victim’s daughter.
Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 7:18 PM CDT
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LAWRENCE CO., Ala. (WAFF) - A man sentenced to life without parole for a brutal Lawrence County murder is appealing that sentence for the second time, and also asking for a new trial.

Evan Miller was 14 when he beat Cole Cannon with a baseball bat and then set his home on fire in 2003.

After his conviction, Miller became the youngest person in Alabama to be sentenced to life without parole. Attorneys at the Equal Justice Initiative took on Miller’s case.

They appealed the sentence to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012, arguing that sending a juvenile to life in prison with no chance of release was unconstitutional.

Supreme Court justices agreed, sparking resentencing hearings across the country for convicted teens.

Miller’s resentencing was in April of this year, and the judge just upheld that life sentence. He noted Miller had a lack of remorse for the crime.

Now, Miller’s team filed motions asking for a new trial and asking for a new sentence. His attorneys would like to see him sentenced to life with the possibility of parole.

“Evan Miller has had multiple, multiple opportunities for due process,” said Cannon’s daughter Candy Cheatham.

Cheatham says every appeal drags up painful memories for her family, pushing back any sense of closure for her father’s death.

“You get some relief for a period of time, but we know this probably will never stop unfortunately for us or for other people and we’ll have to continue to fight that,” said Cheatham.

She also questions the motive behind the appeals. Cheatham says the Equal Justice Initiative is eroding the criminal justice system, calling it unfair and unjust that they have to go through this process.

“Even in a name as Equal Justice Initiative doesn’t really mean anything, because it’s becoming more, ‘Lets wear out the courts so they will rule in our favor’ and that is not justice,” said Cheatham.

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