BOISE - The Idaho Court of Appeals has ordered the resentencing of a Sagle man for second-degree murder, saying a North Idaho judge misinterpreted state sentencing laws when he defended his decision to sentence James M. Anderson to 10 to 20 years in prison, with the first 10 years fixed.
Anderson appealed his sentence, calling it excessive, and 1st District Judge Steve Verby indicated that state law required a 10-year fixed term. The Court of Appeals said state law requires a unified sentence of at least 10 years for second-degree murder - meaning a sentence including both the fixed and indeterminate portion, in which an inmate is eligible for parole. The maximum possible unified sentence for second-degree murder is life in prison.
Anderson was convicted of shooting 30-year-old Eli Holt in the face on Thanksgiving night in 2008, during a confrontation outside Anderson’s trailer. He first said he’d shot Holt deliberately because Holt and another man were threatening him and his family, then said he only meant to scare off Holt and the gun went off accidentally. Anderson was a suspect in an earlier beating of a friend of Holt’s.