An Olive Branch man has lost an appeal of his murder conviction, dating back to his involvement in the death of a man seven years ago.
Charles Dalton Shoemake was 17 years old in 2012 when he and his friend Nicholas Walker killed 21-year-old Paul Victor in Olive Branch. Shoemake was accused of strangling Walker with an extension cord after Walker beat him up. The pair then took the body to Shelby Farms in Memphis, dumped it off there and set the body on fire. The action started with a dispute over money, investigators said.
Two years later, Shoemake pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced in a DeSoto County Circuit Court to life without parole.
About two years ago, through his attorneys, Shoemake filed for post-conviction relief, as they maintained that a life without parole sentence was excessive to Shoemake as a child, if the child can be rehabilitated. Their basis was a U.S. Supreme Court ruling to that effect. The attorneys asked that the life without parole sentence be vacated, set aside or corrected because the wrong legal standard was applied on that basis.
However, the post-conviction relief court upheld the ruling and Shoemake’s attorneys then took the case to the state appeals court.
Tuesday, the Appeals Court sided with the original court decision.
The court said the Supreme Court’s ruling used by Shoemake and his legal team didn’t apply. The appeals court said Shoemake was a normal teenager who planned the murder and helped cover it up. The case cited for the Supreme Court’s decision involved a troubled 14-year-old who was forced to be involved in a robbery that went bad and turned into murder.
Attorneys also sought for life without parole sentences be banned on state and U.S. Constitutional grounds, however the Appeals Court said that courts and the state Legislature have not issued bans to that effect.
During proceedings, Shoemake, now age 25, received testimony on his behalf from family, friends and others to his character since beginning his jail time.
Bob Bakken is Managing Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune.