Lawrence County teenaged murderer re-sentenced to life in prison without parole

Cole Cannon was beaten and then his home was set on fire by Evan Miller and another.

Posted: Apr 27, 2021 4:02 PM
Updated: Apr 27, 2021 11:35 PM

A judge on Tuesday ruled that Evan Miller will spend life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 2003 murder of Cole Cannon in Lawrence County.

Miller was 14 at the time of the murder. A judge ruled Tuesday that the initial sentence will stand and Miller will remain in prison.

Evan Miller

WAAY 31 was at the virtual hearing with the reasoning behind the judge's decision and what the family had to say about it.

"You're always thinking about it. It's in the back of your mind," said Candy Cheatham, the daughter of Cole Cannon.

He was murdered by two teenagers at his home in 2003.

On Tuesday, one of the murderers appeared virtually from the St. Claire Correctional Facility for his re-sentencing hearing.

Evan Miller had the chance for parole after his case went to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012. The court made a landmark decision allowing all juveniles who were sentenced to life in prison without parole to be re-sentenced.

Judge Craig was not the original judge on the case, so he took his time looking over all the evidence and transcripts in the trial. He took into consideration several aspects like Miller's abuse as a child, a case he says was one of the most extreme neglect cases he had ever heard of.

He also looked at Miller's use of drugs and mental health history, which included two suicide attempts as early as the age of 5. He re-read the testimony of the adolescent psychiatrist on how all that impacted Miller's mind.

However, in the end, Judge Craig ruled Miller would continue to serve his life in prison without the possibility of parole. 

The judge explained Miller was the principal aggressor in the beating and murder of Cole Cannon. He described Miller's actions as cold, cruel and almost fictional after he read Miller told Cannon "I'm God. I've come to take your life" before beating him near death with a baseball bat.

Judge Craig says Miller not only knew what he was doing but had the intent to kill after Miller returned to the trailer, heard Cannon plead for his life and then left after setting it on fire. He says Miller's actions are worthy of the strongest condemnation and if he were an adult when he committed the crime, life without parole would have been merciful.

The family says Miller has never expressed any kind of remorse. 

"Evan just has never given any ounce of sincere apology or remorse...You can't make someone sorry for what they've done," said Cheatham. 

"He can be forgiven for murdering my dad, but he would have to ask for forgiveness from God. That's his only hope."

Miller could try and appeal the judge's decision, but it's still unclear if that will happen.

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