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Maki handed life sentence


Doug Maki was sentenced to life in prison today at the Fort Frances Courthouse for killing local teen Melani Sutton, with eligibility for parole in 14 years.

Maki had pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in connection with Sutton’s death on Tuesday—just a few hours into his first-degree murder trial.

Maki also was sentenced today to 20 years in jail, to be served concurrently, for his role in the standoff at the Fort Frances Jail last June.

“It’s always important to note that setting a date for eligibility for parole does not mean the guilty goes free at that time. The sentence is life imprisonment,” Senior Regional Justice Terrance Platana said just before handing down the sentence late this morning.

“No sentence by any judge can truly make up for what has happened. I can only hope there is an aspect of closure now,” he added.

The suggestion of setting Maki’s eligibility for parole at 14 years was a joint submission of Crown Attorney Robert “Buster” Young and defence lawyer Gil Labine.

Platana noted he is not required to accept joint submissions, but added, “I am entirely satisfied the joint submission put forth is appropriate.”

This morning’s proceedings also included an impact statement from Sutton’s mother, Fawn Dustin.

Under the Criminal Code, second-degree murder carries a life sentence, with eligibility for parole in a minimum of 10 years.

“This case does noes not represent the minimum amount of time,” said Crown Attorney Young. “We suggest 14 years. It reflects the gravity of the circumstances of this egregious and brutal murder.”

“Melani Sutton is completely blameless in this case,” added Labine. “The blame here lies completely at the shoes of Mr. Maki.”

The additional 20-year sentence stemmed from charges incurred during the June 28-29 standoff at the jail here.

Maki pleaded guilty to two counts of assault with a weapon and two counts of unlawful imprisonment after he and fellow inmate Michael Tetu pepper-sprayed and then locked up two correctional officers.

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