Dog trainer killer sentenced to nearly 27 years in prison

Dog trainer killer sentenced to nearly 27 years in prison »Play Video
Michiel Oakes is seen during his sentencing hearing on Monday, November 30, 2010.
MOUNT VERNON, Wash. - The man who killed a celebrity Northwest dog trainer was sentenced to nearly 27 years in prison Tuesday.

The judge gave Michiel Oakes the maximum penalty allowed under sentencing guidelines.

It was October of 2009 when Oakes killed Mark Stover, a dog trainer whose clients included rock stars, moviemaker Cameron Crowe, Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz and Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki.

Oakes and his attorney, John Henry Browne, maintained throughout the trial that he killed Stover in self-defense after the dog trainer came at him with a handgun. The defendant testified that Stover's gun went off during a struggle between the two of them at Stover's home, killing Stover but sparing him because he was wearing a bullet-proof vest.

In a panic, Oakes said he dumped Stover's body in the water near Anacortes because he didn't think police would believe his version of what happened. Stover's body has never been found.

Tuesday, the judge said it was "incredibly cruel" that Oakes would in effect hide the body by dumping it in the river, and that was one of the reasons he gave Oakes the maximum sentence of 320 months.

A friend of Stover said he was hoping for the maximum sentence.

"I think Michael Oakes should get out of jail when the sun turns green and rises in the north," said Dr. Thomas Haggen.

After the sentencing, Oake's mother Corrie said they will appeal.

"We'll all be dead by the time he gets out," she said. "But we're going to appeal and continue to appeal and rely on God to help us."

Stover's fiancee Theresa Vaux-Michael said that the 320 month sentence for Oakes will help a little, but she's still traumatized by the fact that she doens't know where her fiance's body is.

Oakes' defense attorney filed their appeal later Tuesday.