Dortch sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 | 3:18 p.m. CST; updated 5:02 p.m. CST, Tuesday, December 22, 2009

COLUMBIA — Grady Dortch, 29, received an automatic life sentence after being found guilty of first-degree murder during a sentencing hearing Monday morning in Callaway County.

A jury found Dortch guilty of  first-degree murder in the Douglass Park shooting of Miles Heard on Nov. 4, 2008.  The two men, formerly friends, had fought at a nightclub days prior, according to previous Missourian reporting.

Missouri law mandates an automatic life sentence for those found guilty of first-degree murder.

The sentencing was anticlimactic. Everyone knew what was going to happen, said Boone County Public Defender David Wallis. Since Dortch was found guilty of first-degree murder he will literally die in prison unless he can get an appeal, Wallis said.


Judge Gene Hamilton only had sentencing discretion on the second count of armed criminal action. The minimum penalty for that charge is three years; there is no maximum.

Prosecutor Richard Hicks asked for 25 years to run consecutive with the life sentence for the charge of armed criminal action. Hamilton decided on 15 years.

Wallis said he plans to file for a notice of appeal for his client.

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